An Egyptian trainee teacher has been returned to jail and branded “cruel beyond imagination” by a High Court judge for his continuing failure to reveal the whereabouts of his six year-old daughter.
Thirty-five year old Tamer Salama took daughter Elsa from his English ex-wife Naomi Button during a family visit to Egypt in December 2011. Button, a management consultant who lives in Bramley, Leeds, has not seen or heard from her daughter since she was taken.
The couple had previously separated but Salama reportedly became furious when she asked for a divorce during the visit.
Elsa is believed to believed to be living with members of Salama’s family but he has repeatedly failed to reveal her whereabouts. He was detained by police after returning to England to continue his teacher training.
A judge jailed the physics for contempt of court in January last year and the sentence was renewed in January this year. Sitting at the High Court, Mr Justice Roderic Wood has now sent him back to jail for a further six months, saying he his still guilty of contempt.
He insists that he does not where Elsa is because his family in Egypt has “closed ranks” and moved.
But the judge said Salama was “…was shifty, evasive and plainly dishonest. The egregious acts of the father are cruel beyond imagination. This father has not even had the decency to offer provision of even the most basic information about the welfare of this little girl.”
The judge added: “’I can only imagine the distress of the child as her mother disappeared from her life.”
He also ruled that he must compensate his ex-wife f or the money she has spent pursuing the case.
Earlier this year, Ms Button obtained special legal permission to discuss the case. Elsa had been made a ‘ward of court’, so her identity had been confidential. She told the BBC:
“To snatch Elsa away from me was the cruellest thing anyone could do… I appeal from the bottom of my heart to Tamer’s family to please give her back to me. All they need to do is to make one phone call to the British Embassy. The anguish I have suffered over the last 13 months has been almost unbearable at times.”
Photo by Thomas Leth-Olsen via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence