The lawyers for Doan Thi Huong, the Vietnamese woman accused of murdering the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, have accused the Malaysian government of "discrimination" after an appeal for charges against Doan to be dropped in the same manner as those for Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah, 27, was rejected.
A Malaysian prosecutor said yesterday that Huong, 30, would remain on trial for the gruesome murder of Mr Kim Jong Nam with a toxic nerve agent at a busy Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017.
Her trial, which was supposed to start yesterday, has been postponed until April 1 after the court found the accused unfit to take the stand.
In a shock decision, Malaysia released Ms Siti Aisyah on Monday.
The duo had been charged over the murder.
According to a letter from Malaysia's Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to Indonesia Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly, the charges were dropped after "taking into account the good relations" between the two countries.
The Indonesian government had repeatedly lobbied for charges against Ms Siti Aisyah to be dropped and for her to be allowed to return home.
Huong's lead counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said his team was "obviously disappointed with the position of the A-G" for not withdrawing the charge against his client.
He labelled it "discrimination" as the court had found a prima facie case against both Huong and Ms Siti Aisyah.
"Both the accused persons ran the same kind of defence before this court. Both the accused stated through counsel that they were doing pranks. Both maintained through counsel that they were made scapegoats by North Korea.
"With respect, the decision not to withdraw is perverse. It does not speak well of our criminal justice system. It does not bring confidence to our criminal justice system. It's very obvious, my lord, that there is discrimination," he said.
Throughout the proceeding yesterday, Huong appeared distraught and was sobbing.
Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang told a news conference yesterday: "We very much regret that the Malaysian High Court did not free Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong immediately."
The two women denied the murder, saying they believed they were taking part in a prank for a reality show and were tricked by North Korean agents into killing Mr Kim Jong Nam by smearing VX nerve agent on his face at the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.
Interpol issued a red alert for four North Koreans who Malaysian police identified as suspects and who left the country hours after the murder.