British Woman Faces Execution In Egypt For Bringing Painkillers For Her Husband’s Bad Back

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Ian Miles Cheong Contributor
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A British woman has been arrested upon her arrival in Egypt for bringing a box of painkiller medication into the country for her husband’s back pain. Now she faces the possibility of execution.

The Sun reported Saturday that 33-year-old Laura Plummer is facing a 25-year prison sentence, or execution, after airport authorities discovered tramadol and Naproxen in her suitcase.

Plummer, who arrived in Egypt’s Hurghada airport on October 9, was flying to meet her husband Omar. The paper reported that Plummer signed a 38-page statement in Arabic believing that it meant she thought she could leave. Instead, she was taken to a 15 foot by 15 foot cell where she has been kept with 25 other women for almost a month, her family said.

Her sister Jayne Sinclair, 40, told The Sun that she feared that her sister would attempt to end her life after being locked for 26 days in “repulsive” conditions.

Sinclair told The Sun: “Her life’s in danger. She can’t stay in there any longer or she will be murdered or kill herself. We went out to see her last week and my mum collapsed at the sight of her. She looked over at us and said ‘mum, mum, please help me, help me’.”

Her mother, Roberta Sinclair, 63, claims her daughter “had no idea she was doing anything wrong.”

“The painkillers were placed at the top of her suitcase, she wasn’t hiding them,” she told The Sun. “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.”

Her family says that the painkillers were intended for Plummer’s husband, Omar, who suffers from back pain after an accident. She took 29 strips of tramadol, each containing ten tablets, and Naproxen. In Britain, tramadol is a prescription-only drug, and it is banned in Turkey because drug addicts use it as a substitute for heroin.

However, each pill only costs 8p (10 cents), meaning Plummer would have only made around $30 if she intended to sell them.

Before her text was turned off, Plummer told her father Neville via text: “I’m in trouble and I need your help.” The 70-year-old says he’s spent £10,000 ($13,079) on legal bills already in an attempt to help his daughter.

Since her arrest last month, they have visited her and said she has been in court twice. Plummer’s sister Jayne told The Sun: “She is still wearing the same clothes she flew out in. When she came into court that first time she looked dead behind the eyes and was handcuffed to a 6ft 4in policeman holding a machine gun.”

Sinclair added: “She kept saying, ‘Please help me, please help me.’ She looked like a little child again.”

In a statement to The Times, the U.K. Foreign Office said: “We are supporting a British woman and her family following her detention in Egypt.”

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.