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Vietnamese defendant in Kim Jong Nam trial may walk free next month after plea deal

Vietnamese defendant in Kim Jong Nam trial may walk free next month after plea dealA Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating Kim Jong-un’s half-brother pled guilty to a lesser charge on Monday and may now be freed in early May.  Doan Thi Huong, 29, had been facing the death penalty after being charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, 45, who died in February 2017 after the Vietnamese woman and an accomplice allegedly smeared toxic VX agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport.  Her high-profile trial in a Malaysian court ended abruptly on Monday after prosecutors offered to reduce the murder charge to a lesser one of “causing hurt by a dangerous weapon.” Ms Doan accepted the plea deal and was sentenced to just over three years in prison, with the jail term backdated to her arrest in 2017.  “It is my view that the length of imprisonment would serve the interest of justice,” said Judge Azmi Ariffin, as he announced the verdict. He told Ms Doan that she was “very very lucky” and he wished her “all the best.” The defendant stood up in the dock and thanked the judge, prosecutors and the Malaysian and Vietnamese governments.  As she left the courtroom, she told reporters she was happy and hoped to be a singer and actress when she returned to Vietnam.  Kim Jong Nam was murdered at Kuala Lumpur's international airport in 2017 Credit: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, her lawyer, said she was expected to be freed by the first week of May, after a one third reduction in her sentence for good behaviour.  Ms Doan had been the sole remaining suspect on trial for the painful, public death of Kim whose body seized up and organs shut down within minutes of inhaling the VX agent in the departures hall of the busy international airport.  Siti Aisyah, an alleged Indonesian accomplice, was released last month without charge after high level lobbying from her government.  Vietnam also publicly appealed to the Malaysian authorities for the fair treatment and acquittal of Ms Doan who her lawyers said had been left “traumatised” that she had been left to face charges alone.  The two women, from impoverished backgrounds and with aspirations in showbusiness, claimed that they had been duped into believing they were actors in a reality TV prank show and had no intention to murder Kim.  Their legal teams argued that the women had been cynically used as pawns in an audacious Cold War-style assassination of a potential future challenger to Kim Jong-un, who maintains an iron grip on power in reclusive North Korea.  Four North Korean suspects in the murder remain at large, although Pyongyang has always denied any state involvement in the crime.  Le Quy Qunyh, the Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia, said he was “very happy” that Ms Doan had been released and thanked the Vietnamese and Malaysian governments.  “But I have to say that Doan Thi Huong is a victim in this case, like the Indonesian citizen, Siti Aisyah,” he added.



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Timeline of events in the Kim Jong Nam assassination

Timeline of events in the Kim Jong Nam assassinationMalaysian prosecutors on Monday dropped a murder charge against a Vietnamese woman — the last remaining suspect in custody over the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother. It came after authorities last month rejected a request for her murder charge to be dropped entirely — a shock decision after the charge against her Indonesian co-defendant, Siti Aisyah, was withdrawn. The women would have been sentenced to death by hanging if convicted of the brazen murder of Kim Jong Nam at a Malaysian airport in February 2017.



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President Trump abruptly yanks sanctions on North Korea because he 'likes' dictator Kim Jong Un

President Trump abruptly yanks sanctions on North Korea because he 'likes' dictator Kim Jong UnPresident Donald Trump overruled his own Treasury Department and withdrew new sanctions aimed at North Korea because he "likes" dictator Kim Jong Un.



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Malaysia frees Indonesian woman accused of Kim Jong Nam's poisoning

Malaysia frees Indonesian woman accused of Kim Jong Nam's poisoningAs the court announced its decision, Siti Aisyah, 26, turned to her Vietnamese co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, 30, in the dock and the two women, who had been facing the death penalty together, embraced in tears. Following the dramatic decision to release Siti Aisyah, a defense lawyer asked for an adjournment in the case against Huong in order to submit a request that charges be dropped against her too. Defense lawyers have maintained that the women were pawns in an assassination orchestrated by North Korean agents.



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Kim Jong Un Seen Losing More Than Gaining If He Tests Missile

Kim Jong Un Seen Losing More Than Gaining If He Tests MissileTwo days after Kim’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump broke down over sanctions relief and disarmament steps last month, satellite images showed that North Korea was rebuilding a long-range rocket site it recently dismantled. The activity suggests that the country could be preparing to launch a missile or satellite that would push back against Trump while providing valuable data to improve his weapons capability.



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Kim Jong Nam trial resumes as Vietnamese suspect takes the stand

Kim Jong Nam trial resumes as Vietnamese suspect takes the standThe trial of two women accused of killing Kim Jong-un’s half-brother will resume in Malaysia after months of delay on Monday, with a Vietnamese suspect in the case taking to the stand for the first time.  In a brazen plot resembling a spy thriller, Doan Thi Huong, 29, from Vietnam, and Siti Aisyah, 25, from Indonesia, are suspected of assassinating Kim Jong Nam, 45, by smearing lethal VX nerve agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.  The women were ordered to testify in an August ruling by High Court Judge Azmi Ariffin, who said that it could be inferred from evidence presented in court that there was a "well-planned conspiracy" between them and four North Korean suspects to kill Kim. The North Koreans remain at large.  He said he "cannot rule out that this could be a political assassination" but noted there was no concrete evidence to support this.  The two young women, both from impoverished backgrounds but with aspirations for stardom, have claimed since their arrest shortly after the murder that they were duped by North Korean agents into believing that they were actors in a TV prank show when they wiped the toxic substance on Kim’s face.  Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia, will also stand trial Credit: Reuters Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, one of Ms Doan’s lawyers, told The Telegraph that she was “well and fine” ahead of the trial, but added that “there is definitely a bit of anxiety.” His client’s main line of defence would be that she had “no knowledge” of the audacious conspiracy, he said. “She will take the oath and testify the truth as per her police statement that she gave when she was arrested.” Mr Hisyam said he was “very confident” that his client would be acquitted based on the evidence and her statement. However, the trial is set is expected to require several hearings.  The pair of women have been on trial since October 2017 but proceedings have been hit by repeated delays, and Ms Aisyah's defence – which was originally due to start last year – is currently on hold due to a row over witness statements.  Last year prosecutors presented their case, calling 34 witnesses. Some described how the victim died in agony when his body quickly seized up as the substance took effect.  Kim was the estranged relative of the North Korean leader and it is widely believed he was targetted for being a perceived threat to the isolated regime.  South Korea has accused the North of ordering the hit, which Pyongyang denies.  The women are the only two suspects in custody, after four accused North Koreans – the alleged masterminds of the plot – fled Malaysia and went into hiding.  A murder conviction currently carries a mandatory death penalty in Malaysia, although plans are afoot by the Malaysian government to abolish capital punishment for all crimes.



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Timeline of events in the Kim Jong Nam assassination

Timeline of events in the Kim Jong Nam assassinationMalaysian prosecutors Monday unexpectedly dropped a murder charge against an Indonesian woman who had been accused of assassinating the half-brother of North Korea’s leader. Siti Aisyah walked free from a court outside Kuala Lumpur after prosecutors withdrew the charge without giving any reason. A portly North Korean man, later identified as Kim Jong Nam, dies after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13.



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Trump would be 'very disappointed' in Kim Jong Un if North Korea is rebuilding launch site

Trump would be 'very disappointed' in Kim Jong Un if North Korea is rebuilding launch siteSatellite images show North Korea started rebuilding a rocket launch site after a summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un broke down.



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Vietnam suspect to testify in Kim Jong Nam murder trial

Vietnam suspect to testify in Kim Jong Nam murder trialA Vietnamese woman accused of murdering the half-brother of North Korea’s leader will testify in court for the first time next week, when the long-running trial over the Cold War-style hit resumes, her lawyer said Tuesday. In a brazen killing that shocked the world, Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam and Siti Aisyah from Indonesia are accused of assassinating Kim Jong Nam by smearing VX nerve agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. The women have denied murder, saying they believed they were taking part in a prank and were tricked by North Korean agents.



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Trump believes Kim Jong Un didn't know about Otto Warmbier. Experts say that's impossible.

Trump believes Kim Jong Un didn't know about Otto Warmbier. Experts say that's impossible.Experts say North Korea leader Kim Jong Un had to have known about Otto Warmbier's torture while imprisoned there.



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