Dropping of murder charge against Siti according to law, says Mahathir

Doan Thi Huong arrives for a court hearing in 2017

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh called his Malaysian counterpart, Saifuddin Abdullah, on Tuesday and pleaded Doan Thi Huong be given a fair trial and set free, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website.

While the court discharged Siti Aisyah from the case, it rejected her lawyer's request for a full acquittal, as it said that the trial had already established a prima facie case and she could be recalled if fresh evidence emerged. Kim Jong Nam's weird murder with a deadly VX nerve agent occurred in February 2017, as he waited to board a flight at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

A smiling Siti Aisyah (27), who had been facing the possibility of a death sentence in Malaysia in the morning, was by evening rushed by officials through Jakarta's main airport to her emotional parents.

Huong and Siti have consistently denied the murder charge and have said they were tricked into carrying out the killing using a toxic nerve agent for what they thought was a prank. During the trial, the court was shown CCTV footage of two women allegedly assaulting Kim Jong Nam while he prepared to check in for a flight.

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The court will resume proceedings on Huong's case on Thursday, pending a reply from Mr Thomas to a request that charges against her be withdrawn.

Interpol had issued a red notice for four North Koreans who were identified as suspects by Malaysian police and had left the country hours after the murder.

Aisyah said she hopes Huong is also freed. Authorities believe that Kim Jong Un had his half-brother assassinated as part of an effort to consolidate his power after he became the ruler of North Korea.

Kim was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family.

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"Until today, we do not know what were the exceptional circumstances that were needed for the attorney-general to review the charge against Siti Aisyah".

"I have no information (regarding that)", he said, when quizzed by the media during a press conference in Parliament Tuesday (March 12).

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has denied that any form of lobbying took place to secure Indonesian Siti Aisyah's freedom.

Yesterday, deputy public prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad did not provide a reason for the withdrawal of the charges against Siti Aisyah.

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