Global News

Australian grandma sentenced to death in Malaysia on drug smuggling charges

Australian grandma sentenced to death in Malaysia on drug smuggling charges

An Australian grandmother has been sentenced to death in Malaysia for drug smuggling.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, 54, was arrested at a Kuala Lumpur airport in 2014 after she was found carrying 1.1kg (2.4lbs) of crystal methamphetamine.

The court has previously heard Ms Exposto fell victim to an internet romance scam and that she was tricked into believing she was in Shanghai to lodge documents for her online boyfriend's retirement from service in the U.S. army. Her lawyer said Exposto would appeal to the Federal Court in Malaysia, her final legal resort.

But prosecutors challenged the decision and an appeals court overturned the acquittal Thursday, and found her guilty, her lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told AFP.

Sydney woman Maria Exposto has been sentenced to death in Malaysia for drug smuggling. According to news.com.au, a Malaysian appeal court has now overturned an earlier acquittal.

Convinced that she was indeed duped into being a would-be drugs mule, judge Dato' Ghazali had ruled that she was not guilty, and subsequently she was referred to Malaysia's Immigration department to be deported back to Australia.

Exposto's elation at being acquitted on December 27 a year ago was shortlived with the prosecution announcing an appeal shortly after.

Ms Exposto's lawyer Shafee Abdullah today told the court her client would exercise her right for a further appeal.

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She was caught in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in December 2014.

She voluntarily offered her bags for customs inspection and the drugs were discovered.

"I don't think she probably even knew what ice was, to be honest", she said.

Exposto's lawyer called the reversal of judgment "perverse" and said he plans to appeal the ruling.

The foreign reaction to the case of Mr. Barlow and Mr. Chambers has provoked widespread criticism in Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, where Government officials said they would not be deflected from their "war on dadah" by Western or worldwide protests when Western lives were involved.

In a statement yesterday Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said "Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances for all people" and Exposto would continue to receive full Australian consular assistance.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, sentenced to death in Malaysia over drugs charges.

According to the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, the country carried out four executions in 2017, down from nine the year before.


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