Vietnam family of Kim murder suspect urge her not to lose hope

NAM DINH, Vietnam (AFP) – The father of a Vietnamese woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korea’s leader had washed bed sheets in anticipation of her homecoming after her Indonesian co-accused was suddenly freed earlier this week.

But his daughter is still in custody after a Malaysian prosecutor said yesterday Doan Thi Huong would remain on trial for the gruesome murder of Kim Jong-nam with a toxic nerve agent at a busy Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017.

“I am very sad. The government gave us the best support but the other side could not solve it, what can we do,” said Huong’s father Doan Van Thanh from his rural village in northern Vietnam.

Vietnam’s government made an 11th-hour plea to Malaysian authorities this week to free Huong after fellow suspect Siti Aisyah was sent home following back-door lobbying from Jakarta.

Thanh was sure it would work. He insists his daughter was tricked into Kim’s murder and believes she thought she was part of a prank for TV, as she has said in court.

She could face death by hanging if found guilty of the assassination.

“I still believe Huong is innocent,” the parking lot attendant said at his home surrounded by rice paddies in Nam Dinh province.

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.

Doan Van Thanh, father of Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, talks on his mobile phone at his house in Nam Dinh province south of Hanoi yesterday. – AFP