• Kyodo

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A 38-year-old Japanese woman sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle drugs into Malaysia on Wednesday lost her appeal.

The three-man bench of the Court of Appeal, the second-highest court in the country, unanimously rejected Mariko Takeuchi’s appeal.

Takeuchi was convicted and sentenced to death in October 2011 for trafficking 3.5 kg of methamphetamines into Malaysia on Oct. 30, 2009.

Under Malaysian law, anyone found possessing a minimum of 50 grams of methamphetamine is considered to be trafficking in a dangerous drug, which is punishable by death.

“We found that we could not see any reason to disturb the finding of facts by the trial judge. Therefore, the appeal by the appellant is rejected. The conviction and sentencing is hereby confirmed,” Judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said.

Takeuchi’s lawyer, Affifuddin Ahmad Hafifi, told reporters outside the court that the defendant will appeal to the Federal Court, the country’s highest court. If her second appeal also fails, her last chance would be to seek a pardon from the sultan.

Takeuchi pleaded innocent in her first trial, claiming she did not know about the drugs found in a suitcase she brought to Malaysia from Dubai. She said she was carrying the suitcase as a favor for an Iranian acquaintance.

Takeuchi, who has been incarcerated since her arrest, is the first Japanese national to be tried for drug-trafficking in Malaysia and the first sentenced to hang.

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