A British man has been imprisoned in Egypt after being accused of sexual assault after he patted a male airport security guard on the back.
Tony Camoccio, 51, was on his way home from the Red Sea resort of Hurghada when he was patted down by a security officer. After he was finished he then patted the security officer on the back, which is when the officer made the allegation that he was sexually assaulted.
The family says there is video evidence to prove this is not true but that authorities are refusing to release it.
Camoccio has since been held in a cell with no roof where he was forced to sleep on a concrete floor without a blanket or adequate food and water.
Four days after he was arrested he was accused of sexual assault. His detention has been extended by another two weeks whilst authorities investigate the incident.
The case went to court but the trial could not proceed because the man he allegedly assaulted did not attend.
Egypt’s prisons are known for their inhumane conditions, including keeping inmates in overcrowded cells, unhygienic cells and not allowing them adequate food, water, heating and clothing.
Political prisoners are systematically tortured, denied adequate medical care and an unprecedented number have been sentenced to death under the current regime.
A foreign office spokesman has said they are helping the family.
The UK is a major ally of Egypt, and one of its major business partners. In January the Egyptian president visited the UK to speak at the Africa investment forum and shortly afterwards announced that Britain had signed £6.5 billion ($8.5 billion) worth of commercial deals with the north African state.
Rights organisations have constantly criticised the UK and other Western organisations for failing to raise human rights issues with Egypt for fear of putting their business interests at risk.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, pointed out that Egypt’s decision to detain Comoccio comes at a time when Egypt needs the revenues from tourism:
“At a time when Egypt is actively seeking, and very badly needs, support for its tourism sector, it may seem shocking that a Western visitor could be subjected to such outrageous actions by the police; however, Britons must bear in mind that Egypt has largely become a police state over the past seven years.”