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  1. ITV Report

British woman to face trial on drug smuggling charges in Egypt

Laura Plummer faces up to 25 years in an Egyptian prison if convicted of drug smuggling. Credit: ITV News

A British woman accused of smuggling drugs into Egypt has been told she must face trial.

Laura Plummer, 33, was arrested at the airport in Hurghada after authorities found 290 Tramadol tablets in her suitcase - a painkiller which is illegal in Egypt.

She had hoped to be freed from prison at a court hearing set for today after gathering evidence to show the drugs were for her Egyptian husband who suffers chronic back pain.

Her hopes were dashed after and prosecutors referred her case for trial and ruled she could be detained for a further 15 days.

If found guilty, she could potentially face the death penalty or up to 25 years in prison.

No date has yet been set for her trial.

Ms Plummer said she had no idea that Tramadol - which is a legal but controlled drug in the UK - is banned in Egypt due to its widespread use as a substitute for heroin.

Ms Plummer was arrested in the Egyptian city of Hurghada. Credit: PA

The shop assistant had hoped to present paperwork showing her partner Omar Caboo suffers from a long-term back condition - evidence which she hoped would convince authorities she was telling the truth.

"Omar, the partner of Laura, has come forward with evidence to show that he did indeed suffer with back pain - various medical certificates and scans which prove that it was true," said her MP Karl Turner.

She has being held in a tiny prison cell with 25 other women since her arrest on 9 October and is said to be in bad spirits.

Her brother, James Plummer, 31, said his sister thought she was doing a "good deed" by bringing the medication over to her husband, and said she will be "completely out of her comfort zone" in jail.

Mr Turner said Ms Plummer's father put it well when he said his daughter "wouldn't know a tramadol from a panadol", adding: "They weren't concealed, they were laid on top of clothing. Clearly she'd not gone to any attempt to conceal them. She didn't realise they were illegal."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said its officials were "supporting a British woman and her family following her detention in Egypt".