A British woman was imprisoned in Egypt after flying into the country with painkillers for her husband’s sore back.
33-year-old Laura Plummer, from Kingston upon Hull, was arrested after she took nearly 300 painkiller tablets including Tramadol and some Naproxen in her suitcase, the Sun reported. According to her family, she had brought the painkillers for her Egyptian husband who had a bad back and who she visited about four times a year.
But she was stopped at Hurghada airport in Hurghada, a city in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt, as she flew in to stay with her husband Omar for a fortnight. The family also told the newspaper that Plummer had signed a signed a 38-page statement in Arabic believing that it would let her leave the airport afterwards, but was instead kept in a cell with 25 other women for nearly a month. It is thought that she is being held on suspicion of drug trafficking.
Plummer’s mum Roberta Sinclair, 63, told the Sun: “She had no idea she was doing anything wrong. The painkillers were placed at the top of her suitcase, she wasn’t hiding them. We’ve been told she’s facing either 25 years in prison or the death penalty. We’re beside ourselves worrying that they’ll make an example of her.”
The Daily Mail reported that Plummer’s last text message was to her father, Neville, in which she said: “I’m in trouble and I need your help.”
However, when he attempted to reply, the message could not be delivered because her phone was switched off. He is reported to have since spent £10,000 ($13,000) on legal bills.
Her brother James Plummer, 31, said the family had been told she could face up to 25 years in jail, with one lawyer even mentioning the death penalty, the Sun reported.
“It’s just blown out of proportion completely,” James said. “She’s so by the book, so routine, she just likes her own home comforts, watches Emmerdale every night or things like that, going to bed at nine o’clock every night.”
Her mother and sisters are reported to have traveled to Egypt to visit Laura since her arrest on Oct. 9.
Following their visit, Plummer said his mother and sisters told him Laura was unrecognizable. “When they seen her, she’s like a zombie, they said,” Plummer stated.
He added that her hair was starting to fall out due to stress and that he was doubtful whether she would be able to cope. “I don’t think she’s tough enough to survive it,” he said. “She has a phobia of using anybody else’s toilet, so let alone sharing a toilet and a floor with everybody else. That will be awful for her; it’ll be traumatizing.”
He added: “She’s not a tough person at all. She’s only small.”
Laura is due to be present in court again on Thursday, for her third hearing. Reports alleged that on a previous court visit, she was handcuffed to a policeman who was armed with a machine gun.
According to the Guardian, Tramadol is illegal in Egypt and it is known to be used as a heroin substitute.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office in Britain said: “We are supporting a British woman and her family following her detention in Egypt.”