Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm

‘Cruel’ Egyptian returned to jail after failing to reveal whereabouts of daughter Elsa

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.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Paul says:

    He should remain there until his daughter comes home.

  2. Lukey says:

    I agree, in my view he should rot in there if he doesn’t produce her.

  3. JamesB says:

    I wish you all the best Naomi.

  4. michelle jatta says:

    prison is not a deterant to this man and he would spend eternity in prison as he thinks he doing something good without realsing he is doing the opposite. it is the hardest thing you can go through and i spent two years with out my kids and my saving grace i knew where my daughters was. how can any man allow this to happen, my ex would not let me see my kids but at least i could speak
    MY EX husband was prepared to go to prison as he felt he had did nothing wrong, and in his opinion under egyptian law no matter where children are born as long as born to an egyptian father they are egyptian.

    the only saving grace is that at the age of 5 years as long as she is not being hurt physically etc she will get through it till she is back home, my 6 year old went . thought one long holiday she had no parents as dad went and came back minus kids she has come back normal whereas my 8 year old come back well she is damaged.

Leave a comment

Help & advice categories


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

What type of information are you looking for?

Privacy Policy