Egypt pardons Briton jailed for smuggling pills

Laura Plummer, 34, was arrested in October 2017 on arrival at Hurghada. (Facebook)
Updated 28 January 2019
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Egypt pardons Briton jailed for smuggling pills

  • Laura Plummer, 34, was arrested in October 2017 on arrival at Hurghada, and was accused of smuggling Tramadol tablets

CAIRO: A British woman who was sentenced to three years in prison for bringing hundreds of painkillers into Egypt was included in a recent pardons list, Egyptian security officials said Monday.
Laura Plummer, 34, was arrested in October 2017 on arrival at Hurghada, a Red Sea resort, and was accused of attempting to smuggle hundreds of Tramadol tablets, which are legal in Britain but banned in Egypt.
She said the tablets were for her Egyptian partner, who suffers chronic back pain. Tramadol is listed by Egyptian authorities as an outlawed drug given its wide use as a heroin substitute. Plummer’s family said at the time their daughter had no idea that bringing painkillers to Egypt was illegal. She did not try to hide them, they said.
She was sentenced in December 2017 to three years in prison.
Plummer was one of 6,925 prisoners pardoned by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Jan. 25, the anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. Plummer was moved on Sunday to a police station in Hurghada, where she was awaiting a flight home on Monday along with her mother and sister, officials said.
The officials said Plummer had served a third of her sentence when she applied for early release. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed her release on Monday.
“We are pleased Laura is now able to reunite with her family. Our staff provided extensive support to Laura and her family during her imprisonment, visiting her regularly to check her welfare and maintaining close contact with both her family and lawyer,” it said in a statement.


Turkish outpost in Syria shelled from Syrian government forces area

Updated 28 min 22 sec ago
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Turkish outpost in Syria shelled from Syrian government forces area

  • The ministry said its forces immediately retaliated with heavy weapons and it made representations to Moscow over the incident
  • It did not specify when the shelling occurred

ISTANBUL: A Turkish observation post in Syria’s Idlib region was attacked with mortar fire and shelling from an area controlled by Syrian government forces, causing damage but no casualties, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
The ministry said its forces immediately retaliated with heavy weapons and it made representations to Moscow over the incident.
It did not specify when the shelling occurred, but said the attack was launched from what it named the Tall Bazan area and it was assessed to be deliberate.
Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s civil war, and Turkey, long a backer of rebels, co-sponsored a de-escalation agreement for the area that has been in place since last year.
But the deal has faltered in recent months, forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee.
On Thursday Russia and Syria gave sharply conflicting accounts of a previous attack on a Turkish outpost.
Turkey blamed Syrian government forces for that earlier attack but Moscow said it was carried out by Assad’s rebel enemies. Russia said on Wednesday that a full cease-fire had been put in place in the area, but Turkey denied this.