13:50 GMT +315 December 2019
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    Australian Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto leaves following her release at the High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia December 27, 2017

    Australian Woman Escapes Gallows in Malaysian Drug Case

    © REUTERS / Lai Seng Sin
    Asia & Pacific
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    Malaysia is well known for its harsh attitude to drug trafficking crimes so when an Australian woman was arrested in 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur airport for carrying a bag full of methamphetamine, it immediately made her subject to capital punishment.

    The 54-year-old Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, who previously said that she was tricked into smuggling drugs into Malaysia, was cleared of charges on Wednesday. After traveling to China to see a man she met online, who claimed to be a US serviceman, she returned with a backpack he asked her to take to Melbourne, which all of a sudden was filled with 2.4 pounds of crystal meth. On her way home, Exposto was caught in Kuala Lumpur and accused of drug trafficking.

    READ MORE: Amnesty International: Singapore Continues to Sentence Drug Offenders to Death

    Malaysia, being a Muslim-majority country, has strict laws on trafficking: carrying at least 1.75 ounces of “ice” is punishable by death. According to Exposto, she did not know about the drugs hidden in her bag and fortunately, the judge accepted her attorney’s argument and found her not guilty. The judge said that the woman would be deported from Malaysia.

    Last year Malaysian lawmakers voted in a bid to amend legislation so that the death penalty – by hanging – would no longer be mandatory in drug smuggling cases. The changes have not come into force yet.

    drug trafficking, Drug Smuggling, Malaysia, Australia
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