A British woman imprisoned in Egypt on suspicion of smuggling painkillers is on her third lawyer after a previous representative told her to lie to police, her family has said.
Laura Plummer, 33, was detained after entering the country with hundreds of tramadol pills she said were for her Egyptian boyfriend’s injured back.
The drug, widely prescribed in Britain, is strictly controlled in Egypt and can only be brought in with government permission.
Her family has described how lawyers asked her for tens of thousands of pounds and one even told her to lie and say the drugs had been planted.
Rachel Plummer told The Guardian the first representative, appointed in an airport holding cell where Ms Plummer was first detained, had said: “If you don’t give me £10,000, you will go to prison for 15 years.”
That was where Ms Plummer reportedly signed a 38-page document in Arabic she believed would allow her to leave – but she has been behind bars ever since her arrest on 9 October.
And the second lawyer the family hired is said to have asked for £20,000 before instructing Ms Plummer to lie. “He didn’t last long. As a family we refuse to let Laura lie. He told us it’s the only way she’ll come home, but we took the risk,” Rachel Plummer told the paper.
Ms Plummer, from Hull, is reportedly now being represented by a third lawyer, obtained through the British consulate.
She previously said in a note from her cell: “Please help me get out of this hellhole. I don’t know what’s happening. I’m scared. I had no idea that what I was doing was wrong. I thought I was doing a good deed.”
Her brother, James Plummer, 31, said the family has been told she could face up to 25 years in jail, with one lawyer even mentioning the death penalty. It is unclear whether this advice came from either of the first two lawyers.
He said bringing the tablets into Egypt for her partner, Omar Caboo, had been an “innocent, honest mistake”.