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British Tourist Faces Death Penalty For Bringing Pain Pills To Egypt

When Laura Plummer, a shop worker, left her home to journey on a planned fun-filled vacation to Egypt in faraway Northern part of Africa, she did not bargain for what befell her in the land of Pharaoh. She is now being held inside the confines of a pitiable small cell huddled together with 25 other female inmates. The only facility inside the cell is a hole dug in the floor that serves as the toilet.

The 33-year-old British tourist is in danger of being slammed with a death penalty for taking painkillers into the country. Laura was arrested at a Red Sea beach resort where she had gone to have a two-week break with husband. The pill, tramadol tablet, was found inside her suitcase.

She was then taken to Hurghada 1st Police Department where she is currently camping with ” murderers, heroin addicts, and prostitutes,” says her family members who lamented about her ordeal. She is facing charges of drug trafficking.

Her elder sister, 40-year-old Jayne Synclair expressed her fears that her younger sister may attempt to commit suicide after 26 days of incarceration in the ‘miserable’ circumstances. “She is not safe in there. I know what she can do to herself if she is not taken out soon.She may even be killed,” Synclair said.

“It wasn’t funny at all last week when we went out to see her with my mom. Mom broke down on seeing her daughter. Laura looked at us and cried, ‘Mom, Mom, please help me! Get me out of here.’”

Laura’s 63-year-old grieving mother, Roberta Synclair, said tearfully: “She meant no harm because she didn’t realize she was doing anything wrong. The painkillers were kept at the upper part of her suitcase, and she did not hide them since she didn’t have evil motives.”

“The police already told us that she’s facing either 25 years in prison or the death penalty. We are going crazy with worry over what they may do to her. These people may make her a scapegoat.”

She was held up at the airport for five hours without the aid of an interpreter before she was given a 38-page statement in Arabic to sign which she thought was meant for her release.

Rather, she has been imprisoned in a 15-foot-by-15-foot cell with 25 other women for close to a month. Laura showed her desperation to escape her predicament in a text message she sent to her father. The frightened woman pleaded with her dad, Neville: “I’m in trouble and I need your help.” Her 70-year-old father, Neville, tried to reach her but her phone did not go through again. He has so far expended over $13,000 on legal bills.

Laura jetted out to Hurghada airport on the 9th of October for a vacation with her 33-year-old spouse, Omar. Both lovers met four years ago, and it is her tradition to always travel down to Egypt to spend time with him four times a year.

The aftermath of an accident left Omar with back pain, so she took 29 strips of tramadol, each consisting of 10 tablets, with some Naproxen which she got from a friend.

Tramadol is banned in Turkey because it is used by drug addicts as a heroin substitute but in Britain, it is prescription only.

One pill sells for about 10 cents — which means that even if Laura wanted to make money from it, she could not have made more than $30.

Synclair, Jayne, and Racheal explained that Laura has been to court twice and each time after the sessions, she was taken back to the cell for 15 days. She’s scheduled to be back in court on Thursday.

Laura’s sister said: “When she entered the court the first time, she still wore the same clothes she flew out in and was handcuffed to a 6-foot-4-inch policeman who had a machine gun in his hands. There was no sign of life in her eyes.”

“She kept uttering the words, ‘Please help me, please help me.’ She looked so hapless like a small child.”

The Egyptian government had taken action towards metting out severe punishments to drug violators and recommended that offenders should be subjected to the death penalty. Egypt condemned roughly 3,500 persons on charges of narcotics trafficking in 1982. Almost 2,500 of these individuals got sentences between six months to one year; about 1,000 offenders received jail terms of five years or less, and 15 received life sentences coupled with hard labor. By 1988 Egypt had imposed much stiffer penalties. Laura Plummer is unfortunate to be an example of Egypt’s resolution on drug trafficking.

Fortunately, The Foreign Office has waded into Laura Plummer’s matter, and they confirmed it: “We are working towards helping are a British woman and her family who was detained in Egypt.”

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