Fam­ily’s anger as ter­ri­fied Brit Laura sen­tenced in Egypt over painkillers


BRIT Laura Plum­mer has been jailed for three years for smug­gling painkillers into Egypt – and her fam­ily fear she will die in a vi­o­lent prison.

Rel­a­tives say pet­ri­fied Laura, 33, is on the verge of a ner­vous break­down and will not sur­vive in no­to­ri­ous Qena jail.

Her sis­ter Jayne Syn­clair, 40, said: “I will be as­tounded if we get her home.” The drugs she was car­ry­ing are le­gal in Bri­tain.

SHELL-shocked Laura Plum­mer was “thrown into a cage like a dog” af­ter she col­lapsed in the dock when she was sen­tenced to prison.

The Bri­tish shop worker’s fam­ily be­lieve she will not sur­vive the three­year term in an in­fa­mous jail in Egypt.

Laura, 33, will to­day start her sen­tence at Qena jail where in­mates have rou­tinely been stripped and beaten.

Her sis­ter Jayne Syn­clair, 40, said: “Now the real hell will be­gin.

“I will be as­tounded if we ever get her home. It’s ter­ri­fy­ing.

“That prison is no­to­ri­ous. The For­eign Of­fice have put in an ur­gent ap­peal to get her moved to Cairo be­cause they know it’s so dan­ger­ous.”

Laura’s mother Roberta Syn­clair, 64, was in the court in Egypt for the hear­ing yes­ter­day. Jayne said: “Mum said they threw her in a cage in the court­room like a dog.” She added Laura was sat rock­ing back­wards and for­wards.

Jayne said: “Laura is pet­ri­fied and on the verge of a ner­vous break­down.

“Her men­tal health is go­ing to be to­tally de­stroyed and my mum’s too.

“They are trau­ma­tised. I think Laura could die of fear or even kill her­self.

“I re­ally am scared she will never come home and will die in that prison.

“And if she does sur­vive, who will we get back? She will have post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der.” Mum Roberta said: “I’m so fright­ened for her. This is not fair. She’s done it in all in­no­cence.”

Laura was ar­rested on Oc­to­ber 9 at Hurghada air­port in Egypt with around 290 Tra­madol tablets in her suit­case, which she said were for her Egyp­tian

part­ner Omar Ca­boo who has a back prob­lem. The painkillers are le­gal in Bri­tain but not in Egypt. Her fam­ily said they are ex­pected to pro­vide food for Laura, of Hull, while she is in­side. And she will be al­lowed only one visit ev­ery three weeks. Jayne said the jail, which is an hour north of Luxor, will be even worse than the small po­lice cell where Laura has been kept along­side 25 other women since the ar­rest. She added: “They’ve stolen ev­ery­thing from her and she’s too scared to stop them... She’s fright­ened to death of ev­ery­thing. “I can’t see Laura sur­viv­ing this. She’s the soft­est, kind­est woman.” The fam­ily say she is “un­recog­nis­able” since her ar­rest due to hair and weight loss. Jayne added a trans­la­tion error dur­ing a court hear­ing on Christ­mas Day led the judge to think Laura had pleaded guilty. Her so­lic­i­tor stepped in and the case was ad­journed un­til Box­ing Day – when she was con­victed any­way. An ap­peal is un­der way but it could take months. Her lawyer Mo­hamed Oth­man said: “For some­one to be found guilty of drug smug­gling they have to be aware they are pos­sess­ing nar­cotics. “Laura did not know what she was car­ry­ing was a nar­cotic.” Her dad Neville Plum­mer, 72: “The fam­ily are all ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated.”

OUR thoughts go out to Laura Plum­mer, locked up for three years in the Red Sea re­sort of Hurghada.

Her big­gest crime seems to be naivety for not know­ing the strict rules of the coun­try she was vis­it­ing – specif­i­cally that Tra­madol painkillers are il­le­gal in Egypt.

While it was her re­spon­si­bil­ity to check the laws, she and her fam­ily must be go­ing through hell as they strug­gle to un­der­stand a com­plex, for­eign jus­tice sys­tem.

It is a fright­en­ing time for the con­fused Bri­ton, whose rel­a­tives said she had been “daft” to stuff nearly 300 of the tablets in her lug­gage.

All av­enues of ap­peal must be ex­plored so she does not suf­fer be­ing banged up in a north African cell any longer than nec­es­sary.

We call on the For­eign Of­fice to do ev­ery­thing to help her nav­i­gate the le­gal frame­work.

And her in­car­cer­a­tion should serve as a les­son to us all to re­search the laws of coun­tries we are vis­it­ing so we do not find our­selves trapped in sim­i­lar night­mares.

AR­RESTED Laura was held at air­port in Egypt

WITH DAD Neville Plum­mer is dev­as­tated

PART­NER Smil­ing Laura with Omar Ca­boo

MUM & SIS­TERS The fam­ily on TV af­ter she was ar­rested


IN­FA­MOUS Qena prison

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