Jailed Brit Laura Plummer’s release from a ‘hellhole’ Egyptian prison could be delayed because she has lodged an appeal against her sentence, a former inmate claims.
The 33-year-old was sentenced to three years in jail on Boxing Day for bringing 290 illegal Tramadol pills into the country on a flight to Hurghada in October last year.
It was reported at the weekend that Laura would be freed within 48 hours after she was pardoned by the country’s president, but she is still behind bars at a squalid prison in Cairo.
But an ex-inmate today said any appeal lodged by Laura would render the case ‘active’ and would mean President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi can’t intervene.
It was reported Laura’s lawyers lodged an appeal while she was held at a police station in Hurghada, before she was moved to the prison in Cairo, earlier this month.
It was also earlier reported it could take ten months for any appeal by Laura to get to court.
Brit Pete Farmer, 45, was locked up in the same cockroach-infested Al Qanater prison in Egypt for two years before he was released in November.
Speaking today he said: "In Egypt, the case must be totally closed and finished – all appeals dealt with and everything – before a pardon can be issued.
"The president has said before that he can’t intervene or interfere with ongoing cases.
"It means if Laura has appealed, that would mean the case is still ongoing, so he can’t intervene.
"That could be what is going on here. It’s certainly the theory among those who have been in prison."
Pete, a DJ from Essex, moved to Egypt in 2004 to work as a club DJ, and also ran a radio station and record label.
He was on a night off in November 2015 when he claims a drawstring bag – identical to one he and thousands of tourists carry there – was placed at his feet.
Mistaking it for his own, he picked it up and headed home, but was awoken by the police knocking on his door, he said.
They accused him of robbery and after checking the bag he realised his mistake and handed it back.
But police took him to the station, charged him with the crime, and after around three months he was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison.
Earlier it was reported that Laura had been hugged by her family in an emotional reunion as she waits to be freed.
Laura, who has been living a "nightmare", was met by her mum, Roberta Synclair, 63, and her sister Jayne, 40, at the prison.
She claimed the painkillers were for her Egyptian husband Omar Saad’s bad back, and she had obtained them from a friend.
But although the pills are legal in the UK, they are banned in Egypt.
It was reported that the paperwork for the shop worker’s release has been held up and could take several more days.
Laura, from Hull, told the Sun: "I don’t understand what the hold-up is. This is my worst nightmare."
And her mum added: "It was lovely to see her but it’s hard to know what to say to her because of the confusion and the delay.
"We understand that it can take time because she is a foreign prisoner but it’s torture waiting for the news we’ve been praying for."
Lawyers said the hold-up is due to her name being on a separate list to Egyptian prisoners.
Because she is a foreign inmate the process could take longer, but an urgent request was sent to the president’s office to try and speed things up.