The Christmas and holiday period are a time for people to relax and enjoy some quality time with their family and friends.
But Laura Plummer, a regular tourist from the United Kingdom, will not be feeling the Christmas spirit after she was jailed on Christmas day in bizarre circumstances.
Laura Plummer who is thirty-there-years-old has been sentenced to jail plus a four thousand dollar fine after she accidentally confessed to drug trafficking.
The jailed woman, who is a shop worker back in Hull City in Great Britain, was arrested after she was found to be carrying 290 Tramadol tablets in her suitcase at the airport in Egypt.
Tramadol is a painkiller which is legal in the UK but banned in Egypt although according to Laura Plummer’s family and friends, she had no idea the substance was banned.
Ms. Plummer’s family, who have described her as ‘naive’, said she was taking the tablets for her Egyptian partner Omar Caboo, who suffers from severe back pain.
A judge at a preliminary court has sentenced her to three years’ imprisonment and ordered her to pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds (£4,205).
Her fiance Mr. Caboo was reportedly very sad and distraught while Laura cried so heavily that her mother had to calm her down.
Her family and friends are reportedly scared for Ms. Plummer’s life as the prison system in Egypt is reportedly so bad that they believe she might never survive it.
‘If she ever makes it out of there, I will be amazed. She will probably be dead if she has to stay in there for three years’, Ms. Plummer’s sister Jayne Sinclair told the Mirror.
The 40-year-old added, ‘She is not the strongest person – she’s already having a nervous breakdown and is being kicked and punched in the holding prison.’
Ms. Plummer’s family previously claimed she was suicidal after sharing a 15ft square cell with 25 women inmates.
It has also been claimed that staff at the jail which is on the outskirts of the city of Hurghada have shown little sympathy for what the Egyptian media are calling the ‘Tramadol Tourist’.
Laura Plummer’s mother Roberta Sinclair who flew into Egypt in the aftermath of the arrest also spoke up about the incidence.
Speaking after the sentence, her visibly distraught mother, Roberta Sinclair, said,
‘This is not fair. She’s done it in all innocence. She brought [the drugs] to help someone, to help a family. She’s the kindest person… I was worried about her before, [when she was] in the police station. I’m even more worried now she’s in actual prison with real criminals. I feel sick and I’m so frightened for her.’
There might be some light at the end of the tunnel after all as sources say that the sentence, however, can be changed as the case progresses through the Egyptian legal system although it is expected to take a minimum of one month for the second stage of the case to begin.
Her sister Jayne Sinclair has revealed that the family has lodged an immediate appeal as she is been held in a communal cell in Hurghada packed with 25 other women.
Her sister Jayne Sinclair told The Mirror she was being ‘targeted’ by other inmates because she is foreign.
‘To give you an idea of the place Laura is staying in – this woman, a woman alleged to be caring for Laura is locked up for slitting her best friend’s throat. She’s a target in there because she’s a foreigner. She was being kicked and kicked until apparently, the cell leader started watching her.’
Hopefully, the British Government and her lawyers can help Miss Laura Plummer find a way out of a system that is clearly unjust.
Al Jazeera interviewed an inmate from al-Qanater prison – which is used for both political prisoners and for regular criminals – who said it was ‘full of cockroaches’ and ‘disgusting’.