Australian grandma sentenced to death for drugs in Malaysia

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto said she had been fooled into carrying the bag

She was found guilty of a drug trafficking charge - which carries a mandatory sentence of death by hanging.

She was caught with 1.1 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route from Shanghai to Melbourne in 2014.

The court has previously heard Ms Exposto fell victim to an internet romance scam and that she was tricked into believing she was in Shanghai to lodge documents for her online boyfriend's retirement from service in the United States army.

The arrest of Exposto, a former social worker in East Timor, shocked her family and friends in Sydney, who said she was a devoted and loving mother and grandmother.

"There was clear evidence that she was the victim of an Internet romance scam", Exposto's lawyer, Tania Scivetti, told The Associated Press.

"The accused closed an eye to the truth as she should have checked what was in the bag", government lawyer Muhammad Azmi Mashud told reporters.

The mandatory sentence is death by hanging for anyone found guilty of carrying more than 50 grams of an illegal drug.

Exposto was sentenced to death on Tuesday after a panel of three judges threw out her previous ruling.

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

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But prosecutors indicated they wanted to appeal the acquittal, meaning that Exposto couldn't return home to Sydney and to her three grandchildren, as there was a still a chance she could face the death sentence, AFP reported in December.

Mrs Exposto was married at the time but her relationship with her husband was getting "a bit sour" when her online boyfriend asked her to marry him in September 2013.

"I wish you good luck", he said in giving the unanimous ruling.

"An appeal will be filed in the Federal Court - the final appeal", Ms. Exposto's lawyer Muhamed Shafee was quoted as saying by CNN on Thursday.

"Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances for all people", Bishop said in a statement.

The lawyers claimed she did not know the drugs were there, saying she had "never seen drugs in her life", and volunteered her bag to be scanned by an airport X-ray machine.

Malaysia, like other countries in Southeast Asia, imposes harsh penalties for drug offences.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries chilled for years after Malaysia hanged two Australians in 1986 for heroin trafficking, a move that then Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke denounced as a "barbaric act".

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