Vietnamese suspect in Kim Jong Nam murder sentenced

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong arrives at the Shah Alam High Court escorted by Malaysian police women

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong arrives at the Shah Alam High Court escorted by Malaysian police women

A Malaysian judge has sentenced a Vietnamese woman to more than three years in prison after she pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in the killing of the North Korean leader's estranged half brother.

Doan Thi Huong nodded as a translator read the new charge to her.

Earlier on Monday, Doan Thi Huong smiled and said "I'm happy" after prosecutors presented her legal team with the new charge in a Malaysian court and they announced the details.

The 2017 killing of Kim Jong-nam with a toxic nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur's global airport shocked the world, but Doan Thi Huong's guilty plea to the lesser charge of "causing injury" makes her the only person convicted in the case.

Huong is the only suspect in custody after the attorney general's' stunning decision to drop the case against Indonesian Siti Aisyah on March 11 following high-level lobbying from Jakarta.

Hisyam said four North Korean suspects still at large were the 'real assassins'. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

Ms Huong would have faced the death penalty if found guilty of the murder.

After Siti was freed, the Vietnamese government made an appeal on behalf of Doan, but the court ruled that Doan's trial could proceed, but would be postponed until 1 April after she was declared "mentally and physically" unfit to testify.

"It is my view that the length of imprisonment would serve the interest of justice", Judge Azmi Ariffin told the court.

She sought to be acquitted after Ms Aisyah was freed, but prosecutors rejected her request.

That decision prompted the Vietnamese government to pressure Malaysia into releasing Huong.

He told Huong she was "very, very lucky" and he wished her "all the best". A woman bearing a close resemblance to Huong sang on the Vietnam Idol talent show in June 2016. I hope that she can be released today.

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"No death penalty is good enough for now", said Vy, who works as a cleaner at a local market and raises ducks and chickens for extra income.

Doan Thi Huong pleaded guilty to a charge of causing hurt by a unsafe weapon, which carries a maximum 10 years in jail.

He said she is likely to plead guilty to that charge.

They 'exploited her weakness and manipulated her to carry out their evil designs under the camouflage of amusing videos and pranks, ' he said.

Defense lawyers have maintained the women were pawns in an assassination orchestrated by North Korean agents.

The women's lawyers say they thought they were part of a reality prank show and did not know they were poisoning Kim.

A Vietnamese woman accused of colluding with four missing North Korean suspects to assassinate the estranged half brother of Kim Jong-un has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for fatally smearing a deadly nerve agent on his face at a Malaysian airport.

Huong was one of two women charged over the February 2017 murder of Kim Jong Nam, an offense punishable by hanging. Malaysia has not re-staffed its embassy.

Analysts said if North Korea was behind the killing, Kim Jong Un may have seen his older half-brother as a potential leadership threat - even though their father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, had long discounted Kim Jong Nam as a possible successor.

The pair, who claimed they were tricked into carrying out the killing, were put on trial facing a murder charge.

Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family.

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