Kim Jong Nam’s trial verdict: from two to none

In the outcome of Kim Jong Nam’s airport assassination trial in October 2017, two women, one Indonesian and the other Vietnamese, were sentenced with mandatory death sentences.


However, in a surprising turn of events, the Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah, 27, was released in March this year and is currently back in the comfort of her own country.


While Malaysia’s Attorney General Tommy Thomas decided to drop the charges against Siti Aisyah, it was not the same for the Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong, 30.


Consequently, Malaysia’s judiciary system was widely criticised. Thomas’ refusal to dismiss the murder charge against Huong was described as “discrimination” against a Vietnam citizen.


Furthermore, Siti Aisyah’s freedom was claimed to be political lobbying by Indonesia President Joko Widodo who is now facing a re-election in his country.


After many attempts and appeals by the Vietnamese officials and the Malaysian authorities’ willingness to accept Huong’s plea of “voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means”, Huong was ultimately sentenced to 40 months of imprisonment (three years and four months).


Her lawyer believes that she will be freed in May, due to the additional sentence reduction.


Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was “pranked” by the two women with VX nerve poison at Kuala Lumpur International Airport during his return trip to Macau.


The two women were portrayed as “scapegoats” by their lawyers throughout the murder trial, as the suspects were tricked into thinking that they were acting in a harmless prank for a reality TV show.


Malaysian authorities believe that the men responsible for plotting the murder are four North Koreans who fled Malaysia shortly after the murder in February 2017.