Vietnamese woman pleads guilty to lesser charge in assassination of Kim Jong Un's half brother

A Vietnamese woman charged in the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother was sentenced on Monday to 40 months in prison in Malaysia after pleading guilty to a lesser charge, according to The New York Times.

Doan Thi Huong allegedly joined another woman in February 2017 in smearing VX, a nerve agent, on the face of Kim’s half brother Kim Jong Nam in Selangor, Malaysia. After time served and a further sentence reduction, she will be released May 4, according to the Times.


The other woman in the incident, Indonesian national Siti Aisyah, was freed in March after Indonesian President Joko Widodo directly interceded with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on her behalf.

Both women have claimed they were tricked into believing they were participating in a prank television show and had no idea Kim Jong Nam would be killed. Huong’s attorney, Hisham Teh, has argued she should have been freed at the same time, telling reporters she was “naive and gullible and was exploited,” according to the Times.

Officials believe the assassination was organized by four North Korean men who left Malaysia within hours of the attack, although three other North Koreans believed to be involved were permitted to leave, according to the Times. The U.S. State Department announced sanctions against the North Korean government last March in response to the attack.

“You are a very lucky person today, because from the original charge of murder, which carries a mandatory death sentence, the prosecutor has offered a lesser charge of voluntarily causing harm with VX,” Judge Azmi Ariffin told Huong, according to the Times.