Sydney Grandmother Facing Death Penalty In Malaysia
A Sydney grandmother has been sentenced to death in Malaysia after being found guilty by the Court of Appeal of drug trafficking charges.
54-year-old Maria Exposto had previously been acquitted of the charges but her lawyer confirmed that this was overturned.
The final course of action to save Ms Exposto will be to file an appeal with the Federal Court in Malaysia. Her lawyer says that she’s staying strong.
“She’s an amazing person, she’s strong, very strong,” said lawyer Tania Scivetti Sandu. “She said to our legal team, ‘Don’t worry you all fought very hard for me.”
The charge that Ms Exposto is facing is a 39B drug trafficking charge which carries a mandatory drug sentence.
The mother of four was caught with 1.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at Kuala Lumpur International Airport during a stopover from Shanghai to Melbourne back in 2014.
She spent three years in prison but managed to avoid the death penalty after being found not guilty of drug trafficking in December 2017, after the judge found that she had been tricked into carrying the drugs in a romance scam.
Ms Exposto was released on bail in January but was kept in Malaysia as the prosecutor wished to file an appeal.
Customs officers found the drugs stitched into the lining of a bag that had been given to her by a man she had met online, claiming to be “Captain Danial Smith” of the US special Forces.
The judge believed that Exposto had fallen in love with the man who groomed her into transporting the bag containing the drugs from Shanghai to Melbourne.
Ms Exposto’s lawyer claims that she didn’t know that the drugs were there and even volunteered for her bag to be scanned in the X-ray machine at the airport.
“The court believes the testimony of Maria in that she was an innocent carrier,” said lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah. “She was tricked into carrying the bag because of what we now call the internet same, internet romance.”