Malaysia court frees Indonesian in Kim Jong Nam murder case

Indonesian national Siti Aisyah (C) is escorted while leaving the Shah Alam High Court. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia Mar 11, 2019, 08.22 AM (IST)

A Malaysian court Monday freed an Indonesian woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother after prosecutors withdrew the murder charge against her.

Siti Aisyah had been accused alongside Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam of killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing VX nerve agent on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017, in a brazen Cold War-style hit that shocked the world.

"Siti Aisyah is freed," judge Azmin Ariffin told the Shah Alam High Court, as he approved a request from the prosecutor to drop the murder charge. He granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

"She can leave now."

In his request to withdraw the charge, prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad did not give a reason for the move in court. He said Aisyah was free to leave the country.

Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Rusdi Kirana told reporters: "We are pleased with the court decision. We will try to fly Siti back to Indonesia today or as soon as possible."

It was a surprise move as the court had been scheduled to hear Huong -- who was in court alongside Aisyah -- testify on Monday.