'Naive' tourist jailed for possessing illegal painkillers moved to 'bad' Egyptian prison
A British woman sentenced to three years in prison after painkillers were discovered in her luggage in Egypt has already been transferred to a notorious jail, leaving her mother no chance to say goodbye, her family has said.
Shop worker Laura Plummer, 33, from Hull, was given the sentence by judges on Boxing Day, nearly three months after she was found to be carrying 290 tramadol tablets in her suitcase, a painkiller which is legal in the UK but banned in Egypt.
The court was told she was taking the tablets for her Egyptian partner Omar Caboo, who suffers from severe back pain and had no idea what she was doing was wrong.
Ms Plummer's sister, Rachel, said their mother, Roberta Synclair, was in court for the "devastating" judgment and had to watch as her daughter was taken away sobbing in a "cage".
Rachel said her mother had been told Ms Plummer would be held in police cells so she could visit her and take vital supplies.
But Ms Synclair travelled to the cells on Wednesday only to find her daughter had already been transferred to a prison in Qena.
She said: "Mum was told that she was going to stay in the Safaga holding cell, the police holding cell, for the rest of the week so she can visit her, take her things that she needs, food and stuff.
"So she travelled in a taxi today all the way to Safaga, which is an hour away from where she is, to be told that Laura had gone.
"She went to Qena yesterday.
"Obviously that's even more devastating for my mum because she's not got to say goodbye to Laura.
"She's not been able to give her her food and her things."
Rachel said the prison in Qena is known to be a very difficult place to be, but she said reports her sister had already been attacked were not true.
She said: "No prisons are nice but I think Qena's the bad one, which is terrifying for us because we fear for her so much.
"She's just not cut-out to be in a prison, even in a UK prison never mind a prison abroad."
Rachel said the family was still not sure how the court came to its decision.
Ms Plummer first appeared on Christmas Day but the case was adjourned until the following day due to her condition.
The judge only allowed translation from the court translator, leading to a situation where she may have given the wrong answers to some questions, giving the appearance she was confessing.
Rachel said: "I think it's all wrong the way it's been done. I don't know if they were going on that, because of that mistake or what."
She said her mother sat close to Ms Plummer in court and they really thought she would be coming home.
"Laura was saying that she couldn't wait to get back to work. She was speaking like she was coming home," Rachel said.
"They were all sure she was coming home. The defence was really good, really strong.
"All the evidence was presented to show that this was a massive mistake and Laura's intentions were as she said, just to treat Omar's back pain."
But, she said, the judges came back with their devastating judgment after two hours.
Rachel said: "Laura collapsed crying. She got led away. She got taken away in this cage."
She said: "I think they know she's not a drug dealer."
Rachel said the drugs were clearly not worth much from a monetary point of view and the court does not seem to have taken into account the other painkillers found with the tramadol which are not illegal in Egypt.
Ms Plummer was arrested on October 9 when she flew into the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, where she was arrested at the airport on October 9.
Her family had been told that she could face up to 25 years in jail, with one lawyer even mentioning the death penalty.
Rachel Plummer said she did not know what the situation was regarding any potential appeal.
On Tuesday, Ms Plummer's local MP Karl Turner said he had spoken to her defence lawyer in Egypt who said she had 60 days to launch an appeal and he expected that she will.