Envoy welcomes quick release of Vietnam suspect

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) — Vietnam’s ambassador to Malaysia says he appreciates that a Vietnamese woman will be released soon after pleading guilty to a weapons charge in the killing of the North Korean leader’s half brother.

Ambassador Le Quy Quynh attended Monday’s court hearing and later thanked the Malaysian government and the attorney general for Doan Thi Huong’s swift release. Huong, who is expected to be freed by early May after finishing a three-year sentence, is the lone suspect in custody in Kim Jong Nam’s death from VX nerve agent in 2017.

She had faced a murder charge, but on Monday pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing injury by a dangerous weapon, which carries a maximum 10 years in jail.

The ambassador said, “I am highly appreciative that she will be released very soon but I want to emphasize that she is a victim like the Indonesian, Siti Aisyah.”

Aisyah was unexpectedly freed in mid-March after the murder charge against her was dropped.

The murder charge had alleged the two women colluded with four North Korean suspects, but the women have said they thought they were taking part in a harmless prank for a TV show when they swiped their hands over Kim’s face at the airport. The four North Koreans fled the country.