British woman ‘in tears’ at Egypt court hearing

A British woman was reportedly visibly upset as she stood accused of smuggling drugs in an Egyptian court on Christmas Day.

Laura Plummer, from Hull, became so upset that the judge was forced to adjourn the hearing, her sister Rachel has said.

The 33-year-old shop worker was arrested after she was found carrying 290 tramadol tablets in her suitcase. The painkillers are legal in the UK but banned in Egypt.

The woman’s family maintains she was taking the tablets for her Egyptian partner Omar Caboo, who suffers from severe back pain, and described her as “naive”.

They said she did not try to hide the medication and initially thought it was a joke when she was pulled up by officials.

Rachel said: “She’s sleep deprived, she’s visibly nervous and upset.

“She’s answered some questions wrong because she’s not understanding them. She obviously can’t think straight.

:: Hull woman held in Egypt for taking painkillers into country

Laura Plummer and Omar Caboo

Image: Laura Plummer’s family said the tablets were for Mr Caboo

“You can imagine the pressure – this is her life.”

She said their mother Roberta Sinclair, who travelled to the country for the hearing, and Mr Caboo were denied access to the hearing as their driver was running late.

Karl Turner, the MP for Hull East, praised Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s efforts in dealing with the case after Foreign Minister Alastair Burt flew to Egypt to speak to his counterparts.

He said: “I don’t think we could have asked for any more. Unfortunately ministers can only do so much. The judiciary in Egypt is independent and impartial and the judge will come to a view without any outside influence.

“The evidence is pretty clear that she didn’t know the drug was banned and she was taking it out there to help her boyfriend, who has come up with the evidence that he does suffer from a severe back problem.

“The lawyer acting for them is very honest and has said the situation is very serious. But there is an awful lot of good things to say on behalf of Laura, and hopefully the judge will use his or her discretion.”

Mrs Sinclair said her “unrecognisable” daughter was being held in a communal cell with up to 25 women and no beds.

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Ms Plummer is being held at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after being arrested at the airport on 9 October.

Her family has been told she could face up to 25 years in prison or even the death penalty, according to one lawyer.