Kim Jong-nam murder 2nd accused accepts lesser charge

Kuala Lumpur: A Vietnamese woman who is the second accused of using a deadly nerve agent to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on Monday accepted a lesser charge of “causing hurt by a dangerous weapon”.

Malaysian prosecutors offered to reduce the murder charge against Doan Thi Huong, who is the only suspect still behind bars, following the release of her co-accused, Indonesian national Siti Aisyah, last month, CNN reported.

Huong smiled in court after hearing that prosecutors would offer to drop the murder charge and replace it with the lesser charge.

The judge sentenced Huong to three years and four months to be served starting from her date of arrest in February 2017, meaning she could be released from custody as soon as next year.

Huong was one of two women charged over the February 2017 murder of Kim Jong-nam, an offenne punishable by hanging.

Last month, Malaysian prosecutors rejected an appeal to drop the charge against Huong, and did not reveal why they had let Aisyah, go free while keeping Huong in custody.

Huong, Aisyah and the four North Koreans were accused of exposing Kim Jong-nam to the VX nerve agent as he entered an airport in Kuala Lumpur, killing him in minutes.

Lawyers for the two women argued they were duped by the North Korean agents, who tricked them into thinking they were taking part in a reality TV show.

On Monday, Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said his team had made a filing asking the attorney general to reconsider the charge against Huong, CNN reported.

“This was accepted by the attorney general and this is what we see happening this morning,” Teh told the court. “To that we say thank you to the attorney general.”

The four North Korean accused are still at large. Pyongyang has denied involvement in the case.

(With inputs from IANS)