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One down, two to go: Laura Plummer's three year jail sentence.

Editorial Staff

The case of Laura Plummer, the British woman sentenced in Turkey to three years' jail for attempting to smuggle several hundred Tramadol tablets into Turkey, where they are illegal without a prescription, will be back in the headlines in a few days: in a week or so, it will be a year since she was sentenced. There is, in the UK, a vocal group trying to generate sympathy from both the government and the wider population, using both social media and a less than analytical general media to do so. They don't let the facts get in the way of a good story. Her local MP has been, seemingly, unable to utter a sentence without a tear-jerking adjective. Here are the facts without any emotion.

Laura Plummer was 33 years old when she was sentenced. A shop assistant from Hull, she had met Omar Caboo, an Egyption national, some four years earlier when she was 27 and he was 37. Newspaper reports say that he has a wife and children but nevertheless began a relationship with Palmer and made a number of trips from Egypt to Hull to visit her. Some reports refer to him having "several girlfriends" in addition to his wife and Plummer. She, reports say, travelled to Egypt to see him as many as four times each year. Other reports, however, credited to one of Plummer's sisters, says that Caboo "doesn't have a passport so he can't come to England.

Two years before her fateful trip, Caboo was, it appears, involved in a car accident which left him with chronic back pain.

In Egypt, it is, the Guardian reported, illegal for an "unmarried foreigner to stay with a local." At some point, when, exactly, is unclear, she and Caboo apparently entered into some kind of marriage agreement. One of her sisters is quoted as saying "She has met Omar's family and children. But he has a Muslim wife and he's allowed to have other girlfriends. Laura only signed documents in Egypt that allow them to live together when she goes to stay." The report goes on "But she insists the couple’s "marriage" is "not legally binding" and "means nothing" in the UK" and simply allows "them to sleep together in an apartment during Laura's visits." It is not clear what she means. There are conflicting opinions about whether polygamy is legal in Turkey: a 1926 statute bans it but as more refugees have poured into Turkey, they have brought their customs, including a man having multiple wives, with them. After Plummer was arrested, a new law was passed in Turkey which allows registration of a religious marriage by a cleric but to be effective it must still be registered as a civil union - exactly the same process as a "church" wedding in the UK (although, depending on the Church, that register can be used as evidence of a civil union, too.

However one looks at it, the "marriage" was at best a device to allow Plummer to stay with Caboo during her visits.