Vietnam Time

3/15/2019 10:18:26 AM

Vietnam asks Malaysia to ensure fair trial for Doan Thi Huong

Vietnam has repeatedly requested Malaysia to ensure a fair trial for and legitimate rights of citizen Doan Thi Huong, a suspect in the murder of a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) national at Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017, the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman has said.

Doan Thi Huong (C). (Source: VNA)

Speaking at the ministry’s regular press conference on March 14, spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said that over the past days, Vietnam’s authorised agencies have conducted various citizen protection measures to ensure fairness, as well as legitimate rights and interests for Huong.

On March 12, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh talked over the phone with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah to discuss several issues, including the trial of Huong.

A day later, Minister of Justice Le Thanh Long sent a letter to Attorney General of Malaysia Tommy Thomas. The following day, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung met Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam Zamruni Khalid to ask the Malaysian court to ensure the fair trial and release Huong, said Hang.

She also shared that Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Le Quy Quynh attended the March 14 trial to provide support for Huong if necessary, and visited her after the trial.

The spokeswoman affirmed that soon after the incident occurred, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed related agencies to meet Huong and her family, as well as finding lawyers and witnesses as regulated by the host country’s laws and international practices.

The Vietnamese side has also mentioned the case during meetings at all levels, even the most senior levels, with the Malaysian side, she added.

Huong and an Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah were accused of poisoning the DPRK citizen travelling under passport name of Kim Chol with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

However, the Indonesian citizen was released on March 11 after the Malaysian court dropped the murder charge against her.

Malaysia's Prime Minister has said Aisyah's release followed the "rule of law" and denied suspicions of meddling.

"Why was the other girl was released, and not our girl? They were together. Why is this the outcome?" Huong's sobbing stepmother Nguyen Thi Vy said Thursday.

She was so hopeful her daughter would be back she bought extra cassava at the market for a celebration meal with the media that had gathered at her home since early Thursday.

"It is so unfair... we are calling for help from the most senior people at the trial to consider releasing my daughter, free her as soon as possible," she said.

"I still believe Huong is innocent," said Huong's father Doan Van Thanh from his rural village in northern Vietnam.

He has had little news from his daughter since she was arrested in February 2017, just three brief phone calls from custody on a borrowed phone asking after the family's health.

He implored his 30-year-old daughter not to lose hope, optimistic she could still be freed.

"Please be patient, the Vietnamese government will support your release," he said in a message to his daughter.

Huong's lawyer said he would try again to get the charges against her dropped after Thursday's ruling, which left Huong in tears in court.

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