Australian grandma sentenced to death for drugs in Malaysia

Australian Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto is escorted by police during a court hearing in Shah Alam Malaysia on Dec. 27 2017

Australian Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto is escorted by police during a court hearing in Shah Alam Malaysia on Dec. 27 2017

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, 54, from Sydney, was caught with methamphetamine in her bag as she caught a connecting flight to Melbourne in 2014, but she maintains she was conned into the situation by an online boyfriend.

After three years in prison, she was found not guilty of drug trafficking in December 2017, with Judge Dato Ghazali finding Exposto was duped into carrying the drugs in a romance scam.

It was alleged that Ms Exposto fell for an online romance scam, with 9 News reporting that she was lured to carry the drugs by a man who claimed to be a USA soldier based in Afghanistan. Prosecutors appealed, however, preventing Ms. Exposto from leaving Malaysia and returning to her home in Sydney.

The mandatory sentence is death by hanging for anyone found guilty of carrying more than 50 grams of an illegal drug.

"She was tricked into carrying the bag because of what we now call the internet scam, internet romance". He said they would be appealing in the federal court. "You are convicted and will suffer death by hanging", said Justice Mohtaruddin Baki who chaired a three-man bench.

It is believed Exposto had fallen in love with the man who had groomed her over two years before she flew to the Chinese city and was handed the suitcase, her lawyers say.

Malaysian lawmakers have voted to amend legislation so that capital punishment is no longer mandatory in drug-trafficking cases.




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.

They were the first Westerners to be executed under the country's renowned anti-drug laws which were introduced in 1983.

"I thought there was an overwhelming case for the defence".

Exposto's lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, told her it was a temporary setback and "you will win and you will walk away" following a further appeal.

There are at least 900 people on death row in Malaysia, officials have said, but executions have been rare in recent years.

AFP reported that changes to the death penalty have not yet taken effect, as they must be approved by the upper house of Malaysia's parliament.

"It does not make sense that she was just helping someone she did not know carry something", said the prosecution in their appeal.

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