Malaysia frees Kim Jong-nam murder suspect Siti Aisyah

Mar 11, 2019, 1:42 AM EDT
Siti Aisyah says she was set up into carrying the fatal attack.
(Source: austin daniels/flickr)

Siti Aisyah, one of the two women accused of killing Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2017, was freed by a Malaysian court on Monday. However, the verdict doesn’t amount to an acquittal.  

Siti and her co-accused, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, smeared a nerve agent on Kim’s face while he was waiting for a flight at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017, but the duo says, they were tricked into the act believing it was a TV prank, notes the BBC.

Kim Jong-nam, once a front-runner to inherit the political power of his father Kim Jong-il, was disowned by the family after an embarrassing incident in 2001, following which he settled in exile in China, writes The Guardian. Later, Kim Jong-nam drew the wrath of the North Korean despot Kim Jong-un by criticizing his leadership, and grew hysterical fearing retribution.

The “political assassination” sparked a diplomatic standoff between Malaysia and North Korea, prompting the two countries to ban each other’s citizens from leaving for a brief period.