Aussie grandmother sentenced to death by hanging

Aussie grandmother sentenced to death by hanging

Aussie grandmother sentenced to death by hanging

An appeal court in Malaysia has sentenced Sydney grandmother Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto to death by hanging after overturning her earlier acquittal on drug smuggling charges.

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.

The 54-year-old Australian grandmother had traveled to China in 2014 in hopes of meeting her boyfriend, a man she had met online years before who claimed to be Capt. Daniel Smith, a US service member. Ms Exposto testified a friend of Mr "Smith" asked her to take the black backpack to Melbourne from Shanghai as a last minute request at the airport.

Professor Monica Whitty's testimony helped secure Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto's initial acquittal, before an appeal court overturned it yesterday and sentenced the Cabramatta woman to death by hanging.

Prosecutors appealed however, preventing Exposto from leaving Malaysia and returning to her home in Sydney. She had fallen deeply in love with him, she said, and flew to Shanghai to at last see him in person.

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"She was tricked into carrying the bag because of what we now call the internet scam, internet romance", her lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, told Australia's ABC. "She was a drug mule", Scivetti told The Associated Press, adding that they have appealed to Malaysia's top court.

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

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

She had claimed she was the victim of a set-up after she was found with the drugs in her bag after arriving on a flight from China in 2014.

She was acquitted of the death sentence in December, according to 9 News.

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Malaysian courts had initially acquitted the grandmother, after her lawyer successfully argued that Exposto was the victim of an online scam. "It's obvious I'm innocent".

"Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances for all people", Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.

The drugs were sewn into the lining of a bag that had been given to her by her boyfriend, whom she had met online.

Three Australians have been hanged for drugs offences in Malaysia since 1986.

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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