Love-struck grandma spared death

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 27 Nov 2019

An Australian grandmother won her final appeal against a death sentence for trafficking in Malaysia yesterday after claiming she fell for an online love scam and was tricked into transporting drugs.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto kissed her lawyer in court after the ruling set her free - the end of a saga that began in 2014 when she was arrested with crystal meth in Kuala Lumpur.

The 55-year-old, who was detained while heading home to Australia, had said she was fooled into carrying the bag after travelling to Shanghai to meet someone she met online called "Captain Daniel Smith".

After being arrested in Kuala Lumpur's airport with 1.1 kilos of meth stitched into a compartment in her backpack, she stood trial but was cleared of trafficking in 2017 when a judge ruled she did not know she was transporting the drugs. The acquittal was overturned after prosecutors appealed and she was given a death sentence, only for the Federal Court in the administrative capital Putrajaya to rule in her favor yesterday.

Death by hanging is mandatory in Muslim-majority Malaysia for anyone convicted of trafficking certain amounts of some controlled substances.

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