The ongoing trial of Kim Jong Nam’s death in Malaysia is coming to a close with the verdict of the final suspect Doan Thi-Huong, a female Vietnamese citizen. The two suspects related to Kim’s death, Huong and Siti Aisyah will not be charged with the murder charges, which supposed punishment is a mandatory death penalty in Malaysia. The development of the court sentences for both suspects was a surprise as their lawyers presented them as scapegoats in this case.
The turnaround came after the initial rejection of withdrawing Huong’s murder charge whereas the attorney-general has agreed to withdraw the murder charge against her Indonesian co-defendant, Siti. There was a major diplomatic effort by the Indonesian officials to free Siti from the murder charges.
After Kim’s death, Malaysian authorities arrested a North Korean citizen, Ri Jong Chol for investigation in connection with the murder. The tension quickly escalated right after Malaysia canceled a visa-free travel deal and expelled North Korea’s ambassador to Malaysia. Pyongyang hits back by kicking out Malaysia’s envoy and banning all Malaysians from leaving Pyongyang. The tension ended with Malaysia’s then-prime minister Najib Razak agreeing to return Kim’s body to the North Korean officials, allowing respective Malaysia’s and North Korean’s citizens to return to their countries.