Egypt pardons Briton jailed for 14 months on possession of painkillers

A British woman who was sentenced to three years in prison for bringing hundreds of painkillers into Egypt was included in a recent pardons list, Egyptian security officials said Monday.

Laura Plummer, 34, was arrested in October 2017 on arrival at Hurghada, a Red Sea resort, and was accused of attempting to smuggle hundreds of Tramadol tablets, which are legal in Britain but banned in Egypt.

She said the tablets were for her Egyptian partner, who suffers chronic back pain. Tramadol is listed by Egyptian authorities as an outlawed drug given its wide use as a heroin substitute. Plummer’s family said at the time their daughter had no idea that bringing painkillers to Egypt was illegal. She did not try to hide them, they said.

She was sentenced in December 2017 to three years in prison.

Plummer was one of 6,925 prisoners pardoned by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Jan. 25, the anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. Plummer was moved on Sunday to a police station in Hurghada, where she was awaiting a flight home on Monday along with her mother and sister, officials said.

The officials said Plummer had served a third of her sentence when she applied for early release. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed her release on Monday.

“We are pleased Laura is now able to reunite with her family. Our staff provided extensive support to Laura and her family during her imprisonment, visiting her regularly to check her welfare and maintaining close contact with both her family and lawyer,” it said in a statement.

Plummer’s family who had run an appeal for a presidential pardon with British newspaper The Sun welcomed the outcome.

“Obviously we’re delighted. We’ve been told she’s got to be deported but she won’t be banned from returning to Egypt,” said Laura’s sister, Jayne Synclair, 41, told The Sun.

“It’s bittersweet for Laura. She loves Omar and will get to spend only a few moments with him before she’s put on a plane.

“He’s really upset. Despite everything people have said they love each other and their love has survived this awful ordeal.”

Laura’s mother Roberta said: “We just want this to end. We’re excited to get Laura home but devastated for Omar who has supported her throughout and visited her.

“For me, as her mum, it’ll just be nice to bring her home.”

Laura was arrested after she flew into Hurghada on 9 October 2017.

The MFAT’s advice bureau recommends travellers carrying a doctor’s note with any medicines needed while abroad and to research a medication’s ingredients at the intended destination.

“Different countries have different rules on the types of medications you can bring with you into the country when you travel. If you need to take medications with you, you should check the regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to. To do this, contact the Embassy or High Commission of that country.”

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