A British woman has been sentenced to three years in jail for smuggling the painkiller Tramadol into Egypt. The drug is illegal there because of its wide use as a heroin substitute.
An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced British woman Laura Plummer, 33, to three years in jail for smuggling hundreds of tablets of the powerful painkiller Tramadol into the country, despite her insistence that the pills were to treat her Egyptian partner's chronic back pain.
Plummer, a shop worker from Hull, was arrested in October when she arrived in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada from Britain. She has maintained her innocence ever since, saying that she had bought the tablets found in her suitcase only for her partner and had no idea that they were illegal in Egypt.
Egyptian authorities have banned Tramadol, an opioid pain medication, because it is often abused there as a recreational drug or taken by people to increase alertness and even sexual stamina. It is available via prescription in many other countries, including the United Kingdom.
Tuesday's verdict, which came as a surprise in what was meant to be a session devoted to defense arguments, can be appealed.
Plummer could potentially have faced the death penalty under Egyptian law.
The almost 300 tablets she was carrying with her when arrested would have had a total street value of just €26 ($30.80) in Egypt, according to British tabloid "The Sun."
tj/msh (Reuters, AP)