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.


Libya protesters demand release of Qaddafi-era spy chief

Former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi (L), dressed in prison blues, sits along with other defendants behind the bars of the accused cell during a hearing as part of his trial in a courthouse in Tripoli on December 28, 2014. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Libya protesters demand release of Qaddafi-era spy chief

  • Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Qaddafi’s fall
  • Al-Islam was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia

TRIPOLI: Relatives and supporters of Libya’s Qaddafi-era intelligence chief, jailed for his alleged role in a bloody crackdown during the country’s 2011 uprising, protested in Tripoli on Saturday to demand his release.
Abdullah Al-Senussi, a brother-in-law of longtime dictator Muamar Qaddafi, was sentenced to death in 2015 over the part he allegedly played in the regime’s response to a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed Qaddafi.
Eight others close to Qaddafi, including the Libyan leader’s son, Seif Al-Islam, also received death sentences following a trial condemned by the UN as “seriously” flawed.
Several dozen relatives and members of Senussi’s tribe, the Magerha, gathered in a central Tripoli square to demand he be freed over health concerns.
“The law and medical reports support our legitimate demand,” said one protester, Mohamad Amer.
Officials have not released specific details on his alleged health problems.
In a statement, the Magerha said his liberation would “contribute to and consolidate national reconciliation” in a country torn apart by intercommunal conflicts since Qaddafi’s fall.
The unusual protest comes just over a month after the release on health grounds of Abuzeid Dorda, Qaddafi’s head of foreign intelligence who was sentenced at the same time as Senussi.
The protesters held up photos of Senussi behind bars and placards reading “Freedom to prisoners. Yes to national reconciliation.”
Senussi was extradited in September 2012 by Mauritania, where he had fled after Qaddafi’s fall.
Like the dictator’s son, he had also been the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for suspected war crimes during the 2011 uprising.
But in an unusual move, in 2013 the court gave Libyan authorities the green light to put him on trial.
He has since been detained in the capital, along with some 40 other senior Qaddafi-era officials including the dictator’s last prime minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi.
Al-Islam was captured and imprisoned by an armed group in the northwestern city of Zintan and sentenced by a Tripoli court in absentia.
The group announced his release in 2017 but it was never confirmed and his fate remains unknown.