The case into the killing of the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader is likely closed after a Vietnamese woman tried in the case was released from a Malaysian prison on Friday and is back in her native country.
Doan Thi Huong, the last suspect in custody after being charged in the death of Kim Jong Nam with VX nerve agent, said at the airport that “the case has come to a complete end.”
She expressed her gratitude “to everyone who prayed for me” in a video taken by her lawyer in the plane just before it took off to Hanoi.
“I want to say I love you all. Thank you my Lord Jesus. Thank you so much,” she said.
The 30-year-old and her co-defendant, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, were charged with colluding with four North Koreans to murder Kim Jong Nam, the half-older brother of Kim Jong Un, at a Malaysia airport.
The two women – who have said they thought they were taking part in a harmless prank for a TV show – smeared the nerve agent on his face at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13, 2017. They were arrested days later and charged with murder.
In March, the Malaysian attorney general stunningly dropped the murder charge against Aisyah, following high-level lobbying from Jakarta. Huong sought to be acquitted after her co-defendant was freed, but prosecutors rejected her request.
Huong pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of causing injuring last month after prosecutors dropped the murder charge against her. She was sentenced to 40 months in prison from the day of her arrest and was released early for good behavior.
In a letter of gratitude written by Huong and read by her lawyer at the airport, she thanked the Malaysian and Vietnamese governments.
"Thank you, Lord Jesus, for he loves me so much. I am very happy and thank you all a lot. I love you all," she scribbled in the letter shown to reporters.
The High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer that Aisyah, Huong and the four North Koreans engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" to kill Kim and had called on the two women to present their defense.
The four North Koreans left Malaysia the day Kim was killed.
Lawyers for the women have said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.
Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family. He had been living abroad for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.