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Australian grandmother faces death penalty in Malaysia

An Australian grandmother is facing a death sentence for trafficking drugs through a Malaysian airport.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was arrested at Kuala Lumpur Airport with 1.5kg of crystal meth in 2014, which she claimed was not hers.

The 54-year-old was escorted into Shah Alam court by a Malaysian policewoman as she arrived at her trial on Tuesday. 

 

Australian grandmother Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, 54, is facing a death sentence in Malaysia for drug trafficking

She was arrested at Kuala Lumpur Airport with 1.5kg of crystal meth in 2014, which she claimed was not hers

She was arrested at Kuala Lumpur Airport with 1.5kg of crystal meth in 2014, which she claimed was not hers

The mother-of-four may yet escape a death penalty however, after the Malaysian government agreed to scrap mandatory capital punishment for drug trafficking.

Instead, judges could impose a term of imprisonment for anyone caught with more than 50 grams of ice, which is assumed to be trafficking. 

Malaysia’s Parliament is yet to approve the decision by the country’s cabinet but is expected to do so, according to News Corp.

Ms Exposto’s lawyer previously told reporters her chance of acquittal was ‘more than 50 per cent’ because of evidence she had no knowledge of the drugs in the bag.

The 54-year-old was escorted into Shah Alam court by a Malaysian policewoman as she arrived at her trial on Tuesday

The 54-year-old was escorted into Shah Alam court by a Malaysian policewoman as she arrived at her trial on Tuesday

The mother-of-four may yet escape a death penalty however, after the Malaysian government agreed to scrap mandatory capital punishment for drug trafficking

The mother-of-four may yet escape a death penalty however, after the Malaysian government agreed to scrap mandatory capital punishment for drug trafficking

Instead, judges could impose a term of imprisonment for anyone caught with more than 50 grams of ice, which is assumed to be trafficking

Instead, judges could impose a term of imprisonment for anyone caught with more than 50 grams of ice, which is assumed to be trafficking

She claimed to be in Malaysia to lodge documents for her boyfriend, a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan, to retire from the army.

The Sydney woman said she only saw clothes when she opened her suitcase, which was given to her at the last minute by a friend of her boyfriend as she left Shanghai.

The drugs were hidden in a secret compartment she claimed not to have known about, and were not heavy enough for her to notice.

There were fears Ms Exposto could have been ensnared by an online dating scam that the U.S. military warned were ‘a growing epidemic’.

She claimed to be in Malaysia to lodge documents for her boyfriend, a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan, to retire from the army

She claimed to be in Malaysia to lodge documents for her boyfriend, a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan, to retire from the army

The Sydney woman said she only saw clothes when she opened her suitcase, which was given to her at the last minute by a friend of her boyfriend as she left Shanghai

The Sydney woman said she only saw clothes when she opened her suitcase, which was given to her at the last minute by a friend of her boyfriend as she left Shanghai

The drugs were hidden in a secret compartment she claimed not to have known about, and were not heavy enough for her to notice

The drugs were hidden in a secret compartment she claimed not to have known about, and were not heavy enough for her to notice

They involved stealing photos of soldiers and using them on dating sites to ‘lure unsuspecting citizens into providing money to them for such reasons as transportation costs, communications fees, marriages, processing and medical fees’.

Ms Exposto’s Malaysian lawyer Shafee Abdullah told reporters after her arrest that his client was a ‘responsible mother’ who maintained her innocence.

He said she was so anti-drugs that if her four children ever got involved with drugs she would kill them herself.

Mr Abdullah also argued she must be innocent because she voluntarily put her back through the scanner when passengers are randomly chosen.

‘She wasn’t even asked.If she was a person conscious of the contents, she would … probably put the bag that was without the drugs,’ he said.

Ms Exposto was caught at Kuala Lumpur Airport (pictured) in 2014 with the drugs in her suitcase

Ms Exposto was caught at Kuala Lumpur Airport (pictured) in 2014 with the drugs in her suitcase

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk