Exposto sentenced to death in Malaysia

A Sydney grandmother has been sentenced to death by hanging in Malaysia after an appeal court overturned her earlier acquittal on drug smuggling charges.
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The three judges sitting in Kuala Lumpur unanimously found the 54-year-old guilty but said she had a right of further appeal on the methamphetamine charges and wished her luck.

“We find the merits of the appeal, we allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the judge and find her guilty as convicted. The only sentence under law is death by hanging,” the judges found.

Exposto’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, told her it was a temporary setback and “you will win and you will walk away” following a further appeal.

He told AAP a new appeal will be lodged in the Federal Court on Friday.

“It’s the most shocking decision ever,” Shafee said.

“It’s a perverse judgment, no reasons were provided. 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.”

He also said there remains the prospect that the case could become politicised given the return of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to the helm of Malaysian politics.

Relations between and Malaysia soured under Mahathir amid the hanging of n drug runners Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers in 1986.

“That’s a danger because Mahathir still holds a peculiar view of ,” Shafee said.

In a statement on Thursday evening Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said ” opposes the death penalty in all circumstances for all people”.

She said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would continue to provide full consular assistance to Ms Exposto in Malaysia following the overturning of her acquittal and imposition of the death sentence.

On December 27 last year Exposto was acquitted of drug trafficking but faced a prosecution appeal against the acquittal on charges of trafficking 1.5kg of methamphetamine into Malaysia.

Exposto was handcuffed in court where she was consoled by her lawyers and n Embassy officials after the verdict.

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 after the judge found she was scammed by her online boyfriend and was unaware she was carrying the drugs.

The prosecution in the appeal argued Exposto had been wilfully blind, that her defence was made up and she had engaged in a “sly game”.

Shafee responded, telling the court that Exposto was an innocent carrier hoodwinked by an internet romance scam.

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