British woman jailed over 'daft' smuggling of painkillers

A British woman accused of attempting to smuggle hundreds of banned painkillers into Egypt has been sentenced to three years in jail.

Plummer, from Hull, claimed the painkiller, legal on prescription in the United Kingdom but banned in Egypt, was to treat her Egyptian partner's back pain.

The trial of British citizen Laura Plummer has been postponed to Boxing Day after confusion in the courtroom caused her to unintentionally plead guilty to charges of drug trafficking.

Her local member of parliament in the UK, Karl Turner, said her family described Ms Plummer as "very naïve".

Her legal team entered a written submission from her explaining she had not admitted guilt, but had meant to say she carried the drug without knowing it was illegal and with no intention of selling it.

She added that she did not know when the appeal would be heard. "How can you be sentenced to three years just for being kind?"

"We're just hoping. Even half of that would be better". She has maintained her innocence ever since, saying that she had bought the tablets found in her suitcase only for her partner and had no idea that they were illegal in Egypt. "It's hard and I can't believe it after waiting for two months", she told the BBC.

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According to her family, Laura has been held in a packed cell with 25 other female prisoners since her arrest in October, and has been having suicidal thoughts. "She doesn't deserve that", Rachel told the BBC.

Smuggling drugs is an offense punishable by death under Egyptian law, and Tramadol is the most abused drug in Egypt according to Ghada Wali, the Minister for Social Solidarity.

Plummer met her partner Aziz, also known as Caboo, three years ago in Sharm El Sheikh where he was working as a lifeguard.

"My mum's obviously devastated". She's out there by herself.

Her other sister Jayne Synclair said Plummer had only been trying to help her partner.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: "We will continue to provide assistance to Laura and her family following the court ruling in Egypt, and our embassy is in regular contact with the Egyptian authorities".

  • Megan Austin