Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Le Quy Quynh has said he is “disappointed” that Malaysian prosecutors rejected at a court in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday an appeal to drop a murder charge against a Vietnamese woman accused of killing North Korean man Kim Jong Nam in 2017.
The ambassador made the comment as he was leaving the court, according to CNN footage viewed by Tuoi Tre News.
Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam was one of two women charged with the February 2017 murder of Kim Jong Nam, an offense punishable by hanging in Malaysia.
The other, Indonesian national Siti Aisyah, was freed on Monday in a surprise ruling and returned to Indonesia hours later.
Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh called Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on Tuesday, requesting that Kuala Lumpur give Huong a fair trial and free her from custody.
As Huong was not released following Thursday's court, Ambassador Quynh expressed his disappointment as he left the courthouse, surrounded by the press.
“She’s a little bit nervous and weak, and I advised her to keep good health,” Quynh said in answer to a question from a CNN reporter.
He said Hanoi would again request that Malaysian authorities treat Huong fairly and release her “as soon as possible.”
|Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong leaves a court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 13, 2019. Photo: Reuters|
Huong has insisted innocence and expressed hope that the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia would continue to support her during upcoming court proceedings.
Huong's legal team had petitioned prosecutors to release her on the same grounds as Aisyah, arguing it would be unfair to free one of the co-defendants but not the other, CNN reports.
"The decision not to withdraw does not sit well with our criminal justice system," Huong's lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, was quoted by CNN as saying Thursday.
“There is discrimination as the prosecution favors one party to the other,” he said.
"Both presented same defense before this court ... The public prosecutor has not acted fairly," Hisyam Teh Poh Teik added.
Judge Azmi Ariffin adjourned Thursday’s court on “humanitarian grounds,” saying Huong appeared “not well.”
Court will resume on April 1.