The Latest: Siti Aisyah back in Indonesia, thanks president
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) — The Latest on the dropping of a murder charge against the Indonesian suspect in the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother (all times local):
An Indonesian woman has returned home and thanked the president and Cabinet ministers for securing her release from Malaysia, where she had been charged in the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother.
Malaysian prosecutors earlier Monday withdraw the murder charge against Siti Aisyah, allowing her to return to Indonesia. A Vietnamese woman remains on trial.
Aisyah, surrounded by government officials and a mob of reporters at Jakarta’s arport, struggled for words as journalists shouted questions. With a prompt from Indonesia’s law and human rights minister, she thanked the president.
Aisyah’s release is a boost for President Joko Widodo’s re-election campaign.
The two women were accused of smearing VX nerve agent on the face of Kim’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, in an airport terminal.
Indonesia’s government says its continual high-level lobbying resulted in the release of the Indonesian woman who was charged with the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother in Malaysia.
The foreign ministry said in a statement Monday that Siti Aisyah was “deceived and did not realize at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence.”
It said Aisyah, a migrant worker, believed that she was part of a reality TV show and never had any intention of killing Kim Jong Nam.
The ministry said Malaysia’s attorney general used his authority under Malaysia’s criminal procedure code to not continue the prosecution.
It said Aisyah’s plight was raised in “every bilateral Indonesia-Malaysia meeting, both at the President’s level, the Vice-President and regular meetings of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Ministers with their Malaysian partners.”
Malaysian prosecutors have withdrawn the murder charge against the Indonesian suspect in the killing of the North Korean leader’s half brother.
Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad didn’t give a reason for dropping the charge against Siti Aisyah. It was not yet clear in Monday’s court proceedings if she would be charged with a lower count.
Aisyah’s lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said she should be acquitted as the prosecution case against her has closed.
A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer that Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong, along with four missing North Korean suspects, had engaged in a “well-planned conspiracy” to kill Kim Jong Nam.
Aisyah’s defense had been put on hold while a court heard arguments over obtaining a witness statement.