Australian woman sentenced to death for drug offences in Malaysia

Australian woman sentenced to death for drug offences in Malaysia

Australian woman sentenced to death for drug offences in Malaysia

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

Director of Customs at Malaysia's worldwide airport, shows the bag allegedly containing drugs that was being carried by Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto when she was arrested.

A prime target for smugglers, the naïve, lonely-hearted woman says was convinced to carry a backpack she was told contained only clothes to go and meet her online paramour, a man named Captain Daniel Smith.

She was acquitted after the judge found she was scammed by her online boyfriend and was unaware she was carrying the drugs stitched into her bag.

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

"The High Court judge examined every detail in the evidence and in today's decision they simply reversed the decision without reason and sentenced her to death", reports Australian Associated Press.

"Criminals will groom these individuals and they will talk to them morning, noon and night, and they develop a very close and trusting relationship", she said.

"She was tricked into carrying the bag because of what we now call the internet scam, internet romance".

Late past year, parliament voted to remove the death penalty as mandatory punishment for drug trafficking, and leave it to judges' discretion instead.

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Exposto was sentenced to death on Tuesday after a panel of three judges threw out her previous ruling.

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

"I wish you good luck", he said in giving the unanimous ruling.

Ms Exposto's lawyer Shafee Abdullah told her client it was a temporary setback, vowing Exposto would win the appeal, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Defence lawyers previously argued that Exposto's willingness to put her bag through a security scanner shows she did not know the drugs were there.

She did not know the drugs were there and even volunteered that her bag be scanned through an airport X-ray machine.

In a statement on Thursday 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.

Two Australians were hanged in Malaysia in 1986 for heroin trafficking - the first Westerners to be executed in the country - in a case that strained relations between the two countries.

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