OUR GIRL WILL DIE IN HELLHOLE JAIL
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