Laura Plummer, a 33-year old British woman, has been arrested in Egypt for smuggling nearly 300 painkiller tablets. She received a sentence of 3 years in jail. Plummer claims she didn’t know the painkillers were illegal in Egypt for they are legal in the UK.

Plummer was found with Tramadol tablets in her suitcase, on October 9. They were meant to treat the back pain of her Egyptian partner, Omar Caboo. After a few months, she was sentenced to spend three years in prison for having pills banned in Egypt.

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Laura Plummer next to her Egyptian boyfriend. Image credit: The Sun

“I’m still in shock after today’s verdict. It’s difficult and I can’t believe it after waiting for two months”, said Plummer’s mother Roberta Synclair, who was in court for the hearing.

Plummer had ‘no idea’ the painkillers were banned in Egypt

Laura Plummer, a shop assistant from Hull, has been detained for over three months for attempting to smuggle painkillers that were legal in the UK but illegal in Egypt. She was caught at Hurghada international airport on the Red Sea coast, by customs officers who found 290 tramadol tablets in her luggage.

Now, she has been sentenced to three years in an Egyptian jail for the tablets. Her family assures she had no idea the painkillers were banned in Egypt. She said that Laura didn’t try to hide the pills and thought it was a joke when the officers arrested her for that.

During her trial, she accidentally said to be guilty due to a misunderstanding with her interpreter. The trial was adjourned, and today she has a new interpreter, but the verdict was not favorable anyways.

Plummer’s lawyer, Mohamed Othman, is appealing the decision. However, it is not clear when an appeal against her sentence might take place.

Laura used to visit her Egyptian boyfriend a few times per year.

“My mum’s obviously devastated. She’s out there by herself”, said Racher Plummer, who is Laura’s sister. “We’re just hoping. Even half of that would be better. Anything less than three years. She doesn’t deserve that.”

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Laura Plummer will be 3 years in prison for innocently smuggling illegal painkillers into Egypt. Image credit: BBC

Laura and her family are devastated

Karl Turner, MP for Hull East, said the court’s decision was “devastating” for Plummer. He described Plummer as a decent and hard-working woman.

“Laura, most of all, will be absolutely devastated. She’s not been well lately, she’s sleep deprived and she’s been very anxious” said Turner. “It clearly is a banned substance and whilst we must respect the law of other countries there must be good sense and fair play as well.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said that Laura and her family will receive assistance and that the embassy in Egypt is in constant contact with the authorities of that country.

“Now that the judicial process has completed I have no doubt that Foreign Office ministers will be making representations to their Egyptian ministerial counterparts to see what can be done to bring this shocking saga to an end,” he said. “Laura’s defense team are currently considering whether they should appeal and they have 60 days to lodge that appeal. I’m hoping good sense will finally prevail.”

Her sister, though, complained and said that if the Foreign and Commonwealth office really wanted to help, they would have already.

Laura was just going to spend the holidays with her boyfriend. She was taking the painkillers for his back pain. Her mother said Laura did it with innocence and she was just trying to help someone. Roberta is very worried about Laura. Roberta said that she was concerned when she was at the police station, but now that Laura is going to prison, she will be even more worried.

Her mother said Laura has been “living in hell” as she claims that jail cells have to be shared with other 25 women and that there are no beds in them. She says Laura looks unrecognizable for the whole situation.

Laura didn’t know she was carrying narcotics

Her lawyer says that for someone to be found guilty of drug smuggling they have to know that they are in possession of illegal drugs, and Laura wasn’t aware of that. As well, to get to Egypt, she has to pay twice the price of the drugs to buy the plane ticket which makes clear that her objective wasn’t to sell the drugs or to make a profit with them.

Her boyfriend showed her medical records which proved that he needed painkillers for his chronic back pain.

Tramadol is a highly potent synthetic opioid. The substance is restricted in Egypt. It can be prescribed by medical professionals. Some say it is one of the most abused drugs in Egypt.

Source: The Guardian