Bitter pill: She went to Egypt on holiday, she ended up in jail

World

Bitter pill: She went to Egypt on holiday, she ended up in jail

Brit who spent 14 months in a Cairo prison for possessing tramadol describes her 'nightmare'

Chris Graham


A British woman who spent 14 months of “hell” in an Egyptian prison for taking banned painkillers into the country returned home on Monday after reportedly being given a presidential pardon.
Laura Plummer, 34, was sentenced to three years in prison on Boxing Day 2017 after she was found with tramadol tablets in her suitcase, which she claimed were for her Egyptian partner’s severe back pain. She was granted a presidential pardon and moved to a police station on Sunday, it was reported. She was expected to return home to Hull on Monday.
“My two-week holiday in the sun turned into a nightmare. I’m so happy ... I mean, who goes on holiday for two weeks and then stays 14 months?” she told The Sun newspaper. “I’ll never set foot in an airport again.
“I tried to explain myself but nothing I said or did made any difference. It was just ridiculous. I wanted to help Omar and do a kind thing and I ended up in prison. At one stage I thought: ‘I must be dead and this is hell’.”
Plummer’s ordeal began in October 2017 when she was arrested for drug smuggling at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after authorities found 290 tramadol tablets in her luggage. Though available by prescription in the UK, the painkiller is illegal in Egypt. Plummer claimed not to have known this and to have brought the pills into the country to treat her Egyptian partner’s back pain.
Her legal team submitted to the court her clean criminal record, a character reference from her employer, a letter from the UK foreign office indicating that tramadol did not appear on Egypt’s travel advice on banned medicines, as well as a medical report for her husband showing he suffered back problems.
However, she was sentenced on December 26 2017 to three years in Cairo’s Qanatar prison. Plummer’s family visited her in prison in January 2018 amid confusion over her possible early release. Despite speculation that she would be pardoned, she remained in jail for another 12 months.
Laura’s sister, Jayne Synclair, 41, told the newspaper: “Obviously we’re delighted. We’ve been told she’s got to be deported but she won’t be banned from returning to Egypt. It’s bittersweet for Laura. She loves Omar and will get to spend only a few moments with him before she’s put on a plane. They love each other and their love has survived this awful ordeal.”
A spokesperson for the UK foreign office said: “Our staff continue to do all they can to support Laura and her family, and our embassy remains in regular contact with the Egyptian authorities.”
– © The Daily Telegraph

This article is reserved for Times Select subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Times Select content.

Times Select

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.