The decision has caused disappointment after the other person accused in the case, an Indonesian woman, was acquitted and set free Monday.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia said it regretted the Malaysian court’s refusal to drop murder charges against Doan Thi Huong and set her free.
“Vietnam will continue to exert increasing pressure on Malaysia to ensure a fair trial and set her free,” Vietnamese Ambassador Le Quy Quynh told VnExpress.
Vietnam will continue to do its utmost to protect the legitimate rights of the Vietnamese woman to ensure her early freedom, Quynh reiterated.
Huong burst into tears as a prosecutor announced that the attorney-general had rejected a request to free her; and that her trial would be adjourned until April 1.
The Vietnamese defendant, who had to be helped out of court by two police officers following the announcement, tearfully told reporters: “I am depressed. I am innocent… I want my family to pray for me,” AFP reported.
Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said he would closely work with the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia to get the charges dropped.
Huong, 30, and her co-accused Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah, 26, had been on trial for a year and a half on charges of killing Kim Jong-nam, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, by smearing his face with VX poison, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.
Both women have said that they thought they were playing a prank, and had no idea their actions would have deadly consequences.
On Monday, the murder charge was withdrawn against the Indonesian woman and she was set free, prompting the Vietnamese government to call for Malaysia to do the same with Huong, on the basis of the law and the good friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries.
On Tuesday, Vietnamese Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah to seek Huong’s release. Vietnam’s justice minister Le Thanh Long also called on Malaysia to free the Vietnamese suspect on the same day.
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