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Australian lady sentenced to loss of life for alleged drug smuggling in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — An Australian lady accused of drug trafficking in Malaysia was sentenced to loss of life by hanging after an appeals courtroom on Thursday overturned a decrease courtroom’s acquittal, her lawyer mentioned. Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was exonerated by the Excessive Courtroom final December on grounds that she did not know there have been 1.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in her bag when she was arrested in December 2014 at Kuala Lumpur’s worldwide airport. The prosecution appealed.

Exposto, a 54-year-old mom of 4 from Sydney and likewise a grandmother, had arrived from Shanghai and was to catch a connecting flight to Melbourne when she was detained in Malaysia. The medicine have been found when she put two baggage by way of the safety scanner when exiting the airport.

Exposto had mentioned she went to Shanghai to satisfy a U.S. serviceman with whom she had an internet romance, and had been requested to hold a bag full of garments. She mentioned she was unaware that the bag additionally contained medicine.

BBC Information experiences the decide had known as her “naive”, however added that her “emotions of affection…[had] overcome all the things.”

Exposto’s lawyer, Tania Scivetti, mentioned a three-member appeals courtroom “discovered there was advantage” within the prosecution’s enchantment, although it did not say on what grounds. She mentioned Exposto was shocked however calm.

“It is disappointing as there was clear proof that she was the sufferer of an Web romance rip-off. She was a drug mule,” Scivetti informed The Related Press, including that they’ve appealed to Malaysia’s high courtroom.

Malaysia has a compulsory loss of life sentence for anybody discovered responsible of carrying greater than 50 grams of a prohibited drug.

After her acquittal in December, Scivetti mentioned Exposto was instantly arrested by immigration officers as her visa has expired. Following the prosecution’s enchantment, she remained in custody as a result of she could not afford to pay bail.

Australian Overseas Minister Julia Bishop mentioned her authorities was conscious of Exposto’s proper to enchantment.

“Australia opposes the loss of life penalty in all circumstances for all folks,” Bishop mentioned in an announcement.

Diplomatic relations between the 2 nations chilled for years after Malaysia hanged two Australians in 1986 for heroin trafficking, a transfer that then Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke denounced as a “barbaric act.”

Regardless of the backlash, Malaysia hanged one other Australian heroin smuggler in 1993. Australia responded with an announcement expressing the federal government’s deep remorse and unhappiness.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Related Press contributed to this report.

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