March 11, 2019 5:00 AM ET
MATTHEW S. SCHWARTZ
An Indonesian woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is free after Malaysian prosecutors dropped charges against her Monday.
Two women appeared to spread poison on Kim Jong Nam’s face while he was walking through the Kuala Lumpur airport in early 2017. The women had been placed in custody after a judge in Malaysia said there is enough evidence of a “well-planned conspiracy” to move the case forward.
The moment was captured on security camera footage seen around the world. The Indonesian woman arrested in the murder, Siti Aisyah, told investigators she thought she was just participating in a TV show prank.
“I am very happy, I did not expect my release,” said Siti, according to The Guardian. “This is my day of freedom. Thank you to the Indonesian President Jokowi and the Indonesian ministries and the government who assigned a Malaysian lawyer for me. Thank you to the Malaysian government for releasing me.”
The Malaysian attorney general personally approved the decision to release Siti, the Guardian reported. A letter approving her release cited “the good relations between our respective countries.”
Prosecutors in court did not say why they were dropping charges. But according to a foreign ministry statement Monday, Siti was “deceived and did not realize at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence,” the Associated Press reported. The foreign ministry said that Siti’s future was discussed in “every bilateral Indonesia-Malaysia meeting.”
Siti headed back to the Indonesian Embassy, and plans to fly home to Indonesia tonight, embassy officials said.