Brit woman imprisoned in Egypt's notorious prison for smuggling drugs set free
Laura Plummer, 33, has been granted pardon by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on January 25.
A British woman who was imprisoned in an Egyptian prison on possession of drug charge will finally be set free.
Laura Plummer, 33, was imprisoned in Cairo's Al Qanater prison after she was caught smuggling Tramadol pills to Egypt last year. The painkiller is banned in the country.
Plummer who was caught with 290 of the pills at Hurghada airport said she was carrying them for her husband Omar Saad, who has a bad back problem. Saad is an Egyptian and Plummer, who is from Hull, was visiting him for a two week holiday in October.
However, she was sentenced to three years in prison in December last year and sent to the Cairo prison, where the conditions are reported to be abominable.
Plummer's fortunes changed for the good when Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pardoned her on a "day of mercy" as the country marked the anniversary of the 2011 revolution on January 25.
Plummer, obviously ecstatic to be free, said she couldn't wait to go home after believing that she would never get out of her Cairo prison walls.
In a tearful phone call home, she sobbed that she couldn't believe that the day of her freedom had finally arrived just when she had entirely given up hope. Reports said her family has been told that she will be out on Friday or the weekend.
Plummer's sister Jayne Sinclair, 40, told The Sun, “We can’t believe it’s over. We’ve prayed for this day since she was arrested. We just want to get her home. She’s been a nightmare and will be scarred by her ordeal. It’ll be our job to put her back together but we’re pleased to have that chance.”
Plummer's ordeal started in October last year when the banned pills were found in her suitcase at the Egyptian airport. The prosecutors didn't believe her and she was taken for a drug smuggler.
She was arrested and sent to Qena prison, notorious for its convicted killers, sexual offenders, child sex offenders, and jihadi militants. He sister Jayne said that condition were so bad at the prison that Plummer was covered in insect bites and scabs. Not only did she serve time in a cell that was 15 ft by 15 ft with 25 more female offenders but she also beaten and robbed, according to her family. She also had to pay a hefty fine along with the prison time.
Her story caught the world's attention when Egypt shot down a plea by the British Foreign Office to move her to a safer jail. She was temporarily moved to a different jail in Safaga later, but in secret. Her 64-year-old mom Roberta Synclair had traveled 140 miles by road to see her, but to her disappointment, she was told that Plummer had been moved to another prison in Hurghada.
As confusing as it was for the family at such tough times, it wasn't the first incident of its kind. A few days before the Hurghada incident, Synclair had traveled all the way to Cairo to visit her daughter in prison. She was under the impression that her daughter was being held there but to her shock, she was informed that Laura had been transported to Qena.
Plummer's turmoil also hit the family financially. The family spent £40,000 on various expenses in just 2 months of the ordeal. They were initially expected to pay for her food and clothing.
Plummer's father, 70-year-old Neville Plummer, told Daily Mail in December that his daughter was innocent. He believed that Laura couldn't differentiate between the banned painkiller and was not in any way responsible for sneaking in the tablets.
Teary-eyed, he also described her as "lovely", "timid", "innocent" and "vulnerable" and prayed that she be moved to a British prison.
If you have any views or stories that you would like to share with us, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org