British woman 'facing death penalty' in Egypt for carrying painkillers pleads for help in secret message from cell

Laura Plummer made 'honest mistake' by travelling with tramadol for boyfriend who was suffering back pain after car crash

Chris Baynes
Tuesday 07 November 2017 10:37 GMT
Family of British holidaymaker accused of drug smuggling in Egypt say 'she's unrecognisable'

A British tourist imprisoned in Egypt after flying into the country with painkillers for her boyfriend has pleaded for help in a secret message passed from behind bars.

Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, said she had "no idea" she was breaking the law when she entered the country with 290 tramadol pills and naproxen in her suitcase.

She fears she could face the death penalty for drug trafficking for bringing the medication for boyfriend Omar Caboo, 33, who had been suffering severe back pain following a car crash.

In a note from her prison cell, she said: “Please help me get out of this hellhole.

“I don’t know what’s happening. I’m scared. I had no idea that what I was doing was wrong. I thought I was doing a good deed.”

The message was passed to The Sun, which reported Ms Plummer was being kept with 25 women in a 15ft-by-15ft cell.

Her sister Jayne Sinclair, 40, said: "She's absolutely petrified."

Ms Plummer was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking at Hurghada International Airport on the Red Sea coast on 9 October.

She had packed 29 strips of tramadol, each containing 10 tablets, and some naproxen ahead of flying to visit Mr Caboo. The medication, which reportedly had a street value of just £23 in Egypt, was supplied by a friend who had been prescribed them in the UK.

Tramadol is widely prescribed in Britain but Egypt, in common with many other countries, has strict rules on any drugs containing opioid analgesics. The drug cannot be brought into the country without prior permission from the Ministry of Health.

Ms Plummer reportedly signed a 38-page statement in Arabic which she believed would allow her to leave the airport, but has been incarcerated ever since.

Her brother, James Plummer, 31, said the family has been told she could face up to 25 years in jail, with one lawyer even mentioning the death penalty.

Her brother said bringing the tablets into Egypt had been an "innocent, honest mistake", adding: “It’s just blown out of proportion completely."

Ms Plummer's mother and sisters have flown out to visit her amid fears for her welfare. They said her hair was falling out due to stress, she was suffering from an ear infection, and she was still wearing the clothes she travelled in.

“They say she’s unrecognisable," said Mr Plummer. "When they seen her, she’s like a zombie, they said.

“I don’t think she’s tough enough to survive it."

More than 11,000 people have signed a petition calling for her release.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting a British woman and her family following her detention in Egypt.”

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