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Thread: British tourist gets 3-year sentence in Egypt on drug smuggling charge

  1. #1
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    Default British tourist gets 3-year sentence in Egypt on drug smuggling charge

    By Magdy Samaan and James Masters, CNN

    Updated 3:26 PM ET, Tue December 26, 2017
    Laura Plummer was arrested while on a visit to Egypt.

    CNN)A British woman who says she was carrying painkillers for her ailing partner was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison and fined the equivalent of $5,611 by an Egyptian court.
    Laura Plummer, 33, was arrested on October 9 at Hurghada International Airport on the Red Sea after police reportedly found 290 tablets of tramadol in her suitcase.
    Plummer, a shop assistant from Hull in east Yorkshire, was charged with drug possession and smuggling. Her lawyers argue the traveler misunderstood a question in court and gave a response that appeared to be a confession.

    While tramadol is legal in many countries as a prescription painkiller, it is illegal for a private individual to sell it in Egypt, where it is popular among lower-income sectors.
    Plummer said she had brought the drug to her Egyptian husband, Omar Abdel-Azim, who suffers from back pain.

    The pair met five years ago in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, when Abdel-Azim worked as a lifeguard.
    They were married in 2014 through an unregistered contract, known in Egypt as an "urfi" marriage. Plummer has been visiting her husband regularly since.
    A look at the court case
    In court, Plummer's lawyers argued the drug was not listed as illegal in the UK travel advisory.
    The UK's decision to add a warning against carrying tramadol while traveling to Egypt was issued in November -- a month after the arrest.
    "For someone to be found guilty of drug smuggling they have to be aware that they are possessing narcotics," Plummer's lawyer, Mohamed Othman, told Reuters.
    "Laura did not know that what she was carrying was a narcotic. This is pursuant to that tramadol 50mg is a painkiller in her country, England. When she brought the tramadol, she believed it was a painkiller."
    Othman told CNN that the sentence was light, considering the charges.
    In a statement, the British Foreign Office said it "will continue to provide assistance to Laura and her family following the court ruling in Egypt, and our embassy is in regular contact with the Egyptian authorities."
    An appeal is planned
    Plummer's trial started in the town of Safaga on Monday with what her lawyers described as a mistaken confession.
    Their client was asked whether she was intending to sell the drug. But she thought she was asked whether she simply possessed it, and said yes, the lawyers said.
    The defense also rejected allegations of smuggling and trading charges. "She had only 320 pills. Even the plane ticket is almost double the price of those pills," Othman said. "It is illogical that she will deal in tramadol."
    Drug smuggling convictions sometimes carry the death penalty; others carry a minimum of 10 years in prison. It wasn't immediately clear whether Plummer was convicted for possession, smuggling or both.
    Plummer plans to appeal the sentence.
    "It will take a while and she has to go back to the prison," said Plummer's mother, Roberta Synclair.
    "It's not fair," Synclair said. "I was worried about her staying in the police custody; now she will be in the prison with criminal people."
    'Terrible mistake'
    Plummer's local MP, Karl Turner, said her case had been raised with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt.
    "I am hopeful that good sense will eventually prevail," he told the BBC.
    "This is a damning indictment actually of the Egyptian authorities, in the sense that good sense and fairness certainly hasn't prevailed in this case.
    "This is a decent woman who has made a terrible mistake who shouldn't be incarcerated in any prison, never mind an Egyptian prison."

    Journalist Magdy Samaan reported from Egypt. CNN's Duarte Mendonca in London and Hamdi Alkhshali in Atlanta contributed to this report.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/26/middle...dol/index.html
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    British tourist gets 3-year sentence in Egypt on drug smuggling charge
  3. #2
    I'd been following this one, a good example of why we have to be so careful if traveling with meds. I feel bad for this woman. Even her family admits she is very naïve - impression I'm getting is of a pretty gullible and vulnerable person with a kind heart. Pretty sure I read the "husband" already has a wife, get the feeling he was probably using her to get his meds.
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    Ignorance is not a defense. Even if she was totally naive she still knew she was carrying meds without a proper prescription of her own. Furthermore she was admittedly bringing them into the country for the purpose of giving them to someone else. That is the very definition of distribution, even if it was her own valid script. You do not have to make money to be charged with distribution.

    I feel for her and the possibility she fell for the charms of a possibly manipulative man, but was still very foolish on her part.
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    I read an article where it suggests a her friend gave her the trams. The piece had a photo of the friend who has been legally advised to not admit to it. I can't find the link but I don't think I'd be owning up to giving it to a mate as I don't see how it will help the original girl who has been sentenced.

  6. #5
    Traveling abroad with meds without a prescription always gets you in trouble. This reminds me of a show locked up abroad I think it was called.

  7. British tourist gets 3-year sentence in Egypt on drug smuggling charge

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