Wednesday 27 December 2017

British tourist jailed for three years for carrying painkillers into Egypt

Her family were told she could face up to 25 years in jail and one lawyer even mentioned the death penalty

A British tourist accused of smuggling drugs into Egypt has been jailed for three years, her family has said.

Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, was arrested after she was found to be carrying 290 tramadol tablets in her suitcase, a painkiller which is legal in the UK but which is banned in Egypt.

Ms Plummer's family, who have described her as "naive", said she was taking the tablets for her Egyptian partner Omar Caboo, who suffers from severe back pain.

According to a Facebook group set up by her family, she appeared in court in Egypt on Boxing Day and was jailed for three years.

The family said her lawyers lodged an immediate appeal.

Ms Plummer appeared in court on Christmas Day, but the judge adjourned the case for a day because of her condition, according to her sister, Rachel.

Their mother, Roberta Sinclair, travelled to Egypt for the hearings.

The Plummer family has previously said Ms Plummer had no idea that what she doing was illegal and was just "daft".

Laura Plummer with her partner Omar Caboo Facebook
They said she did not try to hide the medicine, which she had been given by a friend, and she thought it was a joke when she was pulled over by officials after arriving for a holiday with her partner.

Ms Sinclair said her daughter was being held in terrible conditions in a communal cell with no beds, sharing with up to 25 other women.

Ms Plummer is being held in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, where she was arrested at the airport on 9 October.

Her family had been told she could face up to 25 years in jail, with one lawyer even mentioning the death penalty.

Ms Plummer’s MP has criticised the Foreign Office and the Egyptian government.

Speaking on the BBC’s World at One, Karl Turner, Labour MP for Hull East, said: “This is a decent honest hardworking Hull woman who in my view is guilty only of being naive.”

“Her mental health and her physical health has suffered.”

He added: “It’s not only Laura that’s naive. The Foreign Office advice has only changed within the last three months in terms of taking Tramadol to Egypt as a result of Laura Plummer’s case.”

Laura (far left) with two sisters and her mum (Image: Facebook)
As a result of her case, the Foreign Office updated its travel advice to remind holidaymakers: “If you’re travelling with prescription medication you should carry a medical certificate confirming that the medication has been prescribed for a medical condition.”

Mr Turner also criticised the Egyptian authorities, calling the sentence “a damning indictment”.

“Good sense and fairness certainly hasn’t prevailed in this case,” he said.

“This is a decent woman who has made a terrible mistake but shouldn’t be incarcerated in any prison, never mind an Egyptian prison.”

The NHS says: “Tramadol is a strong painkiller. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain, for example after an operation or a serious injury.

“It’s also used to treat long-standing pain when weaker painkillers no longer work.”

Tramadol is available only on prescription in the UK, and it is not clear how Ms Plummer’s colleague came to be in possession of such a large quantity of the drug.

(Source: Independent

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