Australian grandma sentenced to death for drugs in Malaysia

An Australian woman has been sentenced to death by a Malaysian court after being found guilty of drug trafficking.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto has been sentenced to death via hanging after allegeldy trying to move almost 1.1 kilos of crystal meth across the Malaysian border into Melbourne.

Customs officers found the drugs stitched into the lining of a bag that had been given to her by an online boyfriend, a man claiming to be "Captain Daniel Smith" from the US Special Forces.

She was found in possession of 1.1 kilos (2.4 lb) of crystal methamphetamine and faced a mandatory death penalty under Malaysia's draconian drugs laws.

"We find the merits of the appeal, we allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the judge and find her guilty as convicted".

According to SBS, Exposto's lawyers said she had gone to Shanghai to file documents in relation to her boyfriend's retirement from service in the U.S. army.

Exposto was handcuffed in court where she was consoled by her lawyers and Australian Embassy officials after the verdict.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was escorted by police during a court hearing in Malaysia in December, where she was exonerated of drug smuggling charges.

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Tania Scivetti, a lawyer representing Exposto, who hails from Sydney, said her team had filed an appeal in a federal court. "The only sentence under law is death by hanging", the judges found.

When she arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to change flights, she mistakenly went through immigration as she was unfamiliar with the airport. "I am shocked with the decision", he said.

Shafee Abdullah now plans to make a final appeal to Malaysia's top court.

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 global protests when Western lives were involved.

The Sydney grandmother sentenced to death in Malaysia for drug smuggling has told her lawyer not to worry as they will win their appeal case because "it's obvious I'm innocent".

Diplomatic relations between the two countries chilled for years after Malaysia hanged two Australians in 1986 for heroin trafficking, a move that then Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke denounced as a "barbaric act".

Exposto said that Smith had asked to marry her in September 2013; however, she had never actually met him, nor could the courts prove that he even existed.

  • Sonia Alvarado