Egypt: British tourist ‘faces death penalty’ for having painkillers after police force her to sign confession in Arabic

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A British holidaymaker says she is facing the death penalty in Egypt for carrying painkillers in her suitcase.
Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, claims she was forced to sign a 38-page Arabic confession before being locked in a tiny cell with dozens of other women.
She was arrested with tramadol tablets with a ‘street value’ of $30 after flying in to a Red Sea beach resort for a break with her Egyptian husband Omar.
Mrs Plummer brought the prescription pills for her husband, who suffers from back pain but lives in Egypt where the drug is illegal and sometimes used as a heroin substitute.

Her mother Roberta Synclair, 63, believes Mrs Plummer is being prosecuted for drug trafficking but told The Sun: ‘She had no idea she was doing anything wrong.

‘The painkillers were placed at the top of her suitcase, she wasn’t hiding them.

‘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.

‘She’s gone through the worst pain imaginable – she’s going through hell.

‘I’ve been out twice to see her and going out again so I can see her on Thursday.’

Mrs Plummer was held for five hours at the airport with no interpreter.

She then signed a statement she believed would allow her to leave.

Omar suffers from back problems, which Mrs Plummer claims was the reason she brought the tablets to Egypt

Mrs Plummer is said to still be wearing the same clothes she flew out in and was handcuffed to a gun-wielding policeman when she first appeared in court. She is due to appear in the dock again on Thursday.

Her mother claimed she looked ‘dead behind the eyes’ and repeatedly begged for help as she faced judges.

Laura Plummer, left, is being held by Egyptian authorities after taking tramadol into the country

Drugs and the death penalty in Egypt

In Egypt capital punishment is carried out by hanging. The state carried out at least 44 executions last year.

Possession, use and trafficking illegal drugs can be punished with death.

Carrying small amounts can result in lengthy prison sentences of 25 years.

It is common for people convicted to life imprisonment in drugs cases to face life imprisonment with no chance of parole or pardon.

In 2015 Cairo Scene reported that tramadol was the ‘most abused drug in Egypt’. An anti-addiction hotline found that 40.7 per cent of drug users take the painkiller.

 Laura is being held in a 15ft by 15ft cell with 25 other women with her family spending £10,000 on legal bills.
But she was stopped at Hurghada airport as she jetted in for a fortnight stay with Omar – who she sees four times per year.
She was carrying 29 strips of 10 tramadol tablets to ease back pain Omar suffers following an accident. She also had Naproxen.
The last text message sent by the shop keeper was to her father, Neville, and said: ‘I’m in trouble and I need your help.’ When the 70-year-old tried to reply her phone was switched off and he has now spent £10,000 on legal bills.
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