A British woman imprisoned in Egypt on drugs smuggling charges looks likely to remain in jail, after days of media speculation that she was about to be released came to nothing.
Laura Plummer, 33, was arrested in October for allegedly trying to smuggle 290 tramadol pills into the Red Sea resort of Hurghada and was sentenced to three years in prison.
She said the pills were for her Egyptian husband’s bad back and she did not realise tramadol was illegal in Egypt.
The Sun reported last week that Ms Plummer had been pardoned by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian president, and was about to be released.
Ms Plummer’s family flew to Cairo in anticipation of her being freed from the al-Qanater prison near Cairo where she is being held.
But British embassy officials and Ms Plummer’s Egyptian lawyer repeatedly told the Telegraph last week that they had no official confirmation that she had been pardoned.
Contrary to optimistic media reports about her release, UK diplomats in Egypt said they saw never saw any sign that the shop worker from Hull was about to be freed.
"At no point did Foreign Office staff advise Laura’s family that we believed she would be imminently released,” a Foreign Office spokesman said.
Days dragged by and Ms Plummer remained in prison as Egyptian officials told her lawyer they could find no record of her being pardoned.
Click Here: Maori All Blacks Store
The Egyptian government has not commented on the case.
By Tuesday, the Sun reported the pardon had been "withdrawn" and Ms Plummer’s family said they no longer believed she was going to be freed.
“How can they do this to her? It’s so cruel. We’ve been double-crossed,” her mother Roberta was quoted as saying.
Karl Turner, Ms Plummer’s local MP, criticised the Sun for publishing a story claiming she was about to be released when the Foreign Office had not confirmed it was true.
"It is disappointing to say the very least that this story was ever published without it being confirmed through official channels," Mr Turner said.
Ms Plummer’s sister, Rachel, later tweeted at Mr Turner. She said the family had been "told by the Foreign Office who read out an email to my mother that they were 95 per cent certain that Laura was on the pardon list".
She also defended the Sun’s coverage, saying: "The Sun followed the same information we did and have been with us through this awful nightmare from start to finish. They’ve offered us support at each stage and to suggest they went on a speculative rumour is wrong and unfair."
— Rachel Plummer (@razzaplum) January 30, 2018