UK's Laura Plummer appears on camera for first time since arrest in Egypt

Updated 17 April 2018
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UK's Laura Plummer appears on camera for first time since arrest in Egypt

  • Laura Plummer has been jailed for three years after she was founding carrying 290 Tramadol painkillers, which are banned in Egypt
  • Her family say they have complained to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

CAIRO: Briton, Laura Plummer, who was jailed in Egypt for possessing banned painkillers, has appeared before the cameras for the first time since her arrest.

Footage from local television channel Sada Al-Balad showed Plummer sitting at the front row of a makeshift church in Al Qanater prison, Cairo's women jail, during an Easter mass. 

The minute-long video showed her dressed in a white long-sleeved prison uniform. 

This is the first time the 33-year-old had been seen since her arrest in October at the Hurghada airport, Egypt's coastal Red Sea city. 

She is serving a three-year sentence for carrying 290 illegal Tramadol painkillers in her suitcase.  The drug is illegal in Egypt but not in the UK.  

Plummer’s sister Jayne Synclair, 40, told The Sun: "It's so hard to see her like this."

"She doesn't bear any resemblance to her. My mum is in bits and has complained to the Foreign Office,” Synclair added.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reportedly aware of the footage.


France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

Updated 25 April 2019
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France urged to suspend boat delivery to Libya over migrant concerns

  • The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning

PARIS: Eight international NGOs including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demanded on Thursday that France suspend the delivery of boats to Libya’s coast guard on concerns they would be used to intercept migrants.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly had in February agreed to donate six boats to the Libyan navy, under which the coast guard operates, in a move she said was aimed at helping them “in the fight against illegal immigration.”

But the offer angered rights groups who said they would be used to block migrant boats seeking to reach Europe, forcing those on board to return to war-torn Libya.

The demand was laid out in a legal challenge that was filed at the administrative court in Paris on Thursday morning.

In it, the groups demand “the suspension of the decision” until the court decides whether or not the donation is legal. The court has 48 hours to make a decision.

The NGOs believe forcing people to return to Libya would expose them to “serious human rights violations.” Massimo Moratti, regional director for research at Amnesty International, said the pledge to deliver boats to the Libyan coast guard was “an unlawful and reckless decision.”

He said it was all the more dangerous at a time when fighting has intensified after Eastern commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on the capital Tripoli earlier this month.

“Doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,” Moratti said in a statement, warning the donation would make France “complicit” in trapping people inside the country.

The NGOs accused the coast guard of having a bad track record in respecting those in distress at sea, saying it should not be given the logistical means to step up such abuses.

The statement accused the coast guard of abuses including pushing those in distress back into the water, threatening them with weapons and firing toward them.

The six vessels, which are to be delivered in the coming weeks, are 12-meter, semi-rigid boats made by French specialist Sillinger.

Besides Amnesty and MSF, the legal petition was joined by France’s Human Rights League, immigrant support group GISTI, Lawyers Without Borders, migrant aid groups La Cimade and Migreurop and Italian research and aid group ASGI.