Egyptian authorities have detained a British woman for carrying painkillers into the country for her husband’s sore back.
Laura Plummer, 33, from Kingston was arrested for carrying prescribed tramadol tablets in her suitcase. She was visiting her Egyptian husband, Omar to take a two-week break near a Red Sea resort.
“She had no idea she was doing anything wrong,” Laura’s mother, Roberta Sinclair told. “The painkillers were placed at the top of her suitcase, she wasn’t hiding them.”
She added, “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 33-year-old woman was held for five years at the airport and signed a 38-page statement in Arabic that she though would see her leave. But, she ended up being held with 25 other women in a 15-foot by 15-foot cell for nearly month.
Tramadol consists of a strong potency and is similar to morphine. It is legal in British as prescription medication, but it is banned in Egypt, where it is used as a substitute for heroin.
Briton Laura Plummer, arrested, cld face 25 yrs in prison after flying into Egypt with £25 worth of painkiller Tramadol for husband’s back pic.twitter.com/Eor6qerlHZ
— Zora Suleman (@ZoraSuleman) November 3, 2017
Laura’s sister Jayne who visited her in Egypt described Laura as looking like a little child who kept pleading “please help me, please help me.”
“She is still wearing the same clothes she flew out in,” Jayne told.
“When she came into court that first time she looked dead behind the eyes and was handcuffed to a 6-foot 4-inch policeman holding a machine gun,” she said.
An online petition is making the rounds to free Laura, which describes her carrying £23 ($38) worth of the prescription painkiller Tramadol as “just an innocent mistake.”
— Esther (@XEstherX) November 4, 2017
The last text message she sent was to her father, Neville and said, “I’m in trouble and I need your help.”
Her family have now reportedly spent £10,000 ($13,000 ) on legal bills. Her brother James is scared that she could face the death penalty.
“It’s just blown out of proportion completely,” he 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,” 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 traumatising.”
He added, “It’s awful for Laura … she’s not a tough person at all. She’s only small.”
Meanwhile, a foreign office spokesperson said that they were supporting the British woman and her family after her detention.