Vietnamese woman sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in jail for death of DPRK man in airport
Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese woman, was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months of imprisonment on Monday for the death of a man from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at a Malaysian airport in 2017 after pleading to a lesser charge filed by the prosecutors.
The prosecutors alternated the charge to "voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means" as instructed by the Attorney-General from the previous murder charge, which carries mandatory capital punishment if convicted.
Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, center, is escorted by police as she arrives at Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Monday, April 1, 2019. [Photo: AP/Vincent Thian]
Huong promptly pleaded guilty to the new charge and the judge sentenced her 3 years and 4 months in prison.
In delivering his sentence, judge Azmi Ariffin said he considered Huong's age, the fact she was the youngest child in her family and that she was a first-time offender.
"First of all, Ms. Doan (Thi Huong), I must say that you are a very lucky person today," he said.
"I took consideration of the counsel that one, the accused pleaded guilty immediately after the alternate charge was read. Two, the accused is a first offender. Three, you are 30-years old, still single and youngest of five and the prosecutor confirmed that you have no prior criminal records in this country."
The prison term would be counted from Feb. 15, 2017, the date she was arrested. Huong's counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told reporters that the defense team expected Huong to be released by the first week of May, with the two years already been served and the remaining one-third granted remission.
"In this case by virtue of the fact she has served two years and two months and by virtue of the fact that there will be a remission of one third, our calculation says she will be released on or about the 4th of May this year, next month," he said.
As she was leaving the court, Huong was visibly relieved, a sharp contrast from her mood when her co-defendant Siti Aisyah was released in March.
"I love you so much thank you so much. I am happy. Thank you for the government of Malaysia," she said to the media as she smiled and waved while being led away by police.
Vietnam's ambassador to Malaysia Le Quy Quynh was present along with Doan Van Thanh, Huong's father. "I hope that my daughter will be released in one month. I am very happy," he said through an interpreter.
In March, Malaysian prosecutors withdrew the murder charge against Aisyah, the Indonesia woman who was charged together with Huong in the case. Aisyah was released but Huong's application to have her murder charge dropped was rejected by the attorney-general.
Both women were accused of killing the DPRK man by smearing VX nerve agent on the man's face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017. They both denied the charges.