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Court in Egypt convicts British woman of smuggling powerful painkillers

CAIRO -- A court in Egypt's Red Sea region has convicted a British woman of smuggling hundreds of powerful painkillers banned in the Arab country, sentencing her to three years in prison.

The woman, 33-year-old Laura Plummer from Hull, has maintained her innocence since her arrest in October on arrival from Britain at Hurghada, a Red Sea resort city. She has insisted the Tramadol tablets were for her Egyptian partner who suffers chronic back pain.

Tramadol is listed by Egyptian authorities as an illegal drug given its wide use as a heroin substitute.

Tuesday's conviction came as a surprise since the hearing was supposed to be taken up by the argument of the defense. The verdict can be appealed. 

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