British Woman Detained in Egypt for Carrying Painkillers

By Jane Werrell
Jane Werrell
Jane Werrell
Jane Werrell is a reporter for NTD based in the UK.
November 4, 2017 Updated: November 4, 2017

Egyptian authorities have detained a British woman who entered the country with painkillers for her husband’s sore back.

Laura Plummer, 33, from Kingston upon Hull was taken into custody for carrying prescription tramadol tablets in her suitcase, reports said.

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 Sun.“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 newspaper said that the 33-year-old was held for five hours at the airport and signed a 38-page statement in Arabic that she thought would see her leave. But, she’s been held with 25 other women in a 15-foot by 15-foot cell for nearly a month.

Tramadol has a strong potency and is similar to morphine. It is legal in Britain as prescription medication, but it is not legal in Egypt, where it is used by some as a substitute for heroin, reported the Guardian.

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 The Sun.

“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 to help free Laura from Egypt describes her carrying £23 ($38) worth of the prescription painkiller Tramadol as “just an innocent mistake.”

The last text message she sent was to her father, Neville and said, “I’m in trouble and I need your help,” according to the Mail Online.

Laura had 29 strips of 10 tramadol tablets for her Egyptian husband’s bad back, the website reported. She had flown to Hurghada airport to go on holiday with her husband, who she meets with four times a year.

Her family have now reportedly spent £10,000 ($13,000 ) on legal bills.

Laura’s brother, James feared that she could face the death penalty.

“It’s just blown out of proportion completely,” he said, per the Press Association.

“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.”

A Foreign Office spokesman told the Press Association that they are supporting the British woman and her family following her detention.

Jane Werrell
Jane Werrell is a reporter for NTD based in the UK.