Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh had a telephone conversation today with his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah regarding the trial of a Vietnamese national involved in the murder of a North Korean citizen.

Minister Minh said the high-ranking leadership of Việt Nam and the Vietnamese public are paying great attention to every development in the case, and asked Malaysian courts to “ensure a fair trial and release Đoàn Thị Hương”.

Đoàn Thị Hương, 30, was accused of smearing a North Korean citizen, whose passport name was Kim Chol, with a nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13, 2017, resulting in his death.

Her Indonesian co-defendant, Siti Aisyah, was released yesterday after two years in custody.

The High Court judge discharged Siti Aisyah without an acquittal after prosecutors said they wanted to drop the charge without stating their reasons.

Earlier today, Dân trí newspaper quoted an unnamed leader of the Việt Nam Bar Federation that they have sent requests to the Government, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking for immediate citizen protections for Hương.

Hương and Siti have insisted they thought they were pulling a prank for a reality show and did not have murderous intent.

Hương said she was “in shock” and that her mind “was blank” after Aisyah left the court and went back to Indonesia.

After Aisyah’s discharge, Hương’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, and Hương “is entitled to the same kind of consideration as Aisyah”.

"We are making representation to the attorney general for Đoàn to be taken equally ... there must be justice,” he said. Hương remains on trial and is slated to appear in court again on March 14.

Under Malaysian law, no foreign lawyers can be granted permits to provide defence or consultation services for defendants brought to trial in Malaysian courts.

The Vietnamese foreign ministry said Việt Nam’s embassy in Malaysia had sent representatives to the trial that opened on Monday to provide assistance to Hương if necessary.

According to the ministry, during the last two years, Việt Nam’s embassy in Malaysia and concerned agencies have “closely monitored the case” and proactively carried out necessary measures to protect the legal rights of Đoàn Thị Hương in accordance with the law, and make sure the trial will be conducted fairly. — VNS