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Egypt court convicts British female tourist of smuggling illegal painkillers Open in fullscreen

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Egypt court convicts British female tourist of smuggling illegal painkillers

Laura Plummer has been held in Egypt since being arrested in October [Plummer family handout]

Date of publication: 26 December, 2017

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A court in Egypt’s Red Sea region has convicted a British woman of smuggling hundreds of powerful painkillers banned in the Arab country, sentencing her to three years in prison.

A court in Egypt’s Red Sea region has convicted a British woman of smuggling hundreds of powerful painkillers banned in the Arab country, sentencing her to three years in prison.

The woman, 33-year-old Laura Plummer from Hull, has maintained her innocence since her arrest in October on arrival from Britain at Hurghada, a Red Sea resort city.

She has insisted the Tramadol tablets were for her Egyptian partner who suffers chronic back pain.

Tramadol is listed by Egyptian authorities as an illegal drug given its wide use as a heroin substitute.

Tuesday’s conviction came as a surprise since the hearing was supposed to be taken up by the argument of the defence. The verdict can be appealed.

Plummer was arrested in Hurghada airport in October when she was found to be carrying 290 tramadol tablets in her luggage.

Although legal in Britain, Tramadol is banned in Egypt and several other countries due to its abuse as a heroine substitute.

According to defence lawyer Dia al-Bassal, Plummer initially replied in the affirmative when asked by the judge whether she had carried the tramadol pills into Egypt.

This was misunderstood by the judge as an admission of guilt, Bassal told The Telegraph.

"She meant that she is admitting that she had the Tramadol, but not admitting of being guilty. The judge jumped to the conclusion that she confesses before clarifying that she understood the question and this is worrying," Bassal said.

Plummer then reportedly broke down in tears when she realised that a mistake had been made.

In a phone call from prison, Plummer told the BBC her cell in a police station was the size of her bedroom in the UK, but she was having to share it with 25 other women.

Her family have said Plummer was "unrecognisable" after four weeks in custody in Egypt.

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