A court in Malaysia unexpectedly dropped a murder charge against Siti Aisyah on Monday, two years after Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader was poisoned in a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal.
“I am surprised and very happy. I didn’t expect it,” she told reporters, saying she had only learned that morning she would be freed. Aisyah was later seen getting into an embassy car as she left the court.
The judge had announced the decision as he approved a request from the prosecutor to drop the charge against her. The decision does not amount to an acquittal, and the prosecutor did not give a reason for the request.
Aisyah cried and hugged her co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, the Vietnamese woman who remains in court.
The two women were accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur. VX, or Venomous Agent X, is a deadly poison that was developed for chemical warfare. It is considered to be a weapon of mass destruction.
Kuala Lumpur airport after the February 2017 killing of Kim Jong Nam
The evidence against Siti Aisyah was weaker than the surveillance images of Huong, showing her washing her hands after the alleged attack. Both women denied the charges.
The two women have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show. They were the only suspects held.
Four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed.
In August last year, a judged had ruled that there was sufficient evidence that the two women engaged in a “well-planned conspiracy” with the North Korean agents.
A murder conviction carries a mandatory penalty of death in Malaysia.
jm/aw (AFP, dpa, AP)
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