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Tourist in Egypt faces death penalty over painkillers

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Egypt Tourism

Woman’s family fear she “will be murdered or kill herself”

Authorities in Egypt have arrested and detained a British woman after she flew into the country carrying painkillers for her husband’s back pain.

Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, was stopped at Hurghada Airport when the painkillers tramadol and naproxen were found in her suitcase.

She agreed to sign a 38-page statement in Arabic, which she thought would allow her to leave the airport and start a two-week break by Red Sea. But for almost a month she has been held in a cell no bigger than five metres by five metres with 25 other women.

The 29 strips of tramadol, each containing 10 tablets, plus some naproxen, was for her Egyptian husband who she visits up to four times a year. Lawyers have told her family that she faces up to 25 years in prison drug trafficking with the possibility of the death penalty, according to press reports.

Tramadol is highly potent but legal in the UK, but it is illegal in Egypt and thought to be a heroin substitute.

Like a zombie

Family members who have flown to see her say she is unrecognisable, like a zombie, her hair starting to fall out from the stress. They fear she “will be murdered or kill herself” in prison.

“I don’t think she’s tough enough to survive it,” her brother told the newspaper The Sun. “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.”

The family has also reportedly been scammed out of thousands of pounds by conmen pretending to be lawyers. Egyptians are wary of scams like this and never pay ‘lawyers’ until after a court hearing.

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

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