Vietnam suspect gets mental health check after losing release bid

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong broke down in tears as a prosecutor told a court the attorney-general had rejected a request to free her

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong broke down in tears as a prosecutor told a court the attorney-general had rejected a request to free her

Huong's stepmother Nguyen Thi Vy was so hopeful her stepdaughter would be back Thursday she bought extra cassava at the market for a celebration meal with the media that had gathered at her home since early Thursday.

Indonesia had mounted a sustained diplomatic offensive to get Ms Aisyah freed, while Vietnam had only stepped up pressure since the Indonesian woman's release this week. "Only God knows that we did not commit the murder", she said.

Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang told a news conference yesterday: "We very much regret that the Malaysian High Court did not free Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong immediately".

The judge granted a request by the defense applied for the case to be postponed to April 1.

"She's a little bit nervous and weak", Quỳnh said.

"It does not bring confidence to our criminal justice system", he added. "There is discrimination as the prosecution favors one party to the other", he said.

"Both presented same defense before this court. The public prosecutor has not acted fairly".

Huong stood in the dock and responded to the judge's questions on the deferment request, saying she suffered from tension and stress. "I think she must given the opportunity to be treated by a doctor".

The court is scheduled to resume proceedings on Thursday. Both women were charged separately but the charge against them is the same: That they had colluded with the four North Korean suspects to murder Kim.

Siti Aisyah smiles as she arrives from Malaysia at Halim Perdana Kusuma airport in Jakarta Indonesia
Siti Aisyah smiles as she arrives from Malaysia at Halim Perdana Kusuma airport in Jakarta Indonesia

Interpol had issued a red notice for four North Koreans identified as suspects by Malaysian police who had left the country hours after the murder.

Some South Korean lawmakers said the North Korean regime had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family's dynastic rule.

Huong was one of two women charged with the February 2017 murder of Kim Jong-nam, an offence punishable by hanging. Prosecutors alleged that Huong and Aisyah wiped Kim's face with the chemical before washing themselves.

But Huong says she was duped by North Korean spies into approaching him, believing it was a harmless prank for a TV show.

The 30-year-old, who could face the death penalty if convicted, sobbed in court when it was announced that her trial would go ahead. They did not offer any explanation but it followed intense lobbying from the Indonesian government. She said she was offered the job by a Malaysian man and ended up earning about $120, but declined to speak at length about the case.

"My message to the other woman workers, please don't easily trust the others".

"You can look at her, she was crying this morning, she was depressed, and she didn't sleep, perhaps did not eat well as well", he said.

After Aisyah's release on Monday, Vietnamese authorities appeared to step up their own efforts to free Huong.

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