Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, center, is escorted by police as she arrives at Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Thursday, March 14, 2019.
A Vietnamese woman charged with assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother has lost her bid for release in Malaysia, days after her Indonesian co-accused was freed.
Lawyers for the women argued 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.
He said the move to release Indonesian Siti Aisyah but not Doan was perplexing as they were jointly accused and especially after the court ruled that there was prima facie to proceed with the prosecution.
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh criticised as "mind-boggling" the attorney general's decision to maintain charges against one suspect after freeing another in the case of Kim Jong-nam's murder.
Huong's lawyers said they were deeply disappointed with the decision and the attorney general had a "moral obligation" to explain the reasoning given the global nature of the case.
Vietnamese diplomatic efforts have proved less effective on the part of Doan, though Hisham confirmed that the embassy of Vietnam in Malaysia, as well as the Vietnamese minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs were "communication with the Malaysian government to secure the release of Doan Thi Huong".
Proceedings were scheduled to resume Monday with Huong, 30, testifying - but the unexpected release of Aisyah lead to the trial being adjourned.
The two women were the only people in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the morning of February 13, 2017, when Kim Jong Nam was poisoned with VX nerve agent.
Teh rejected speculation that Siti Aisyah's release was due to a lack of video evidence against her, saying the court had already established a case against both.
The judge said Huong was not well enough to continue with the trial on Thursday, and adjourned proceedings until April 1.
"The way I see it she's not there physically or mentally", the judge said having met her in chambers prior to the start of the hearing.
"I am not angry at Siti", Doan told reporters in court through tears, adding that she was "traumatised". "I had hoped my daughter would be freed like the Indonesian woman", said her 66-year-old father Doan Van Thanh.
Lawyers for Huong - who could face death by hanging if convicted - then asked the Malaysian government to withdraw the murder charge against her. Kim died in 2017 after a toxic nerve agent was smeared on his face at Kuala Lumpur Airport. The witnesses said traces of VX were found on both women's clothes as well as on Huong's fingernails.
Who was Kim Jong-nam?
The defense phase of the trial is expected to shift the focus onto the absent North Koreans.
South Korea has accused the North of ordering the hit, which Pyongyang denies. He had been living overseas for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.