Authorities no closer to solving riddle of snatched schoolgirl

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Mystery continues to surround the whereabouts of a schoolgirl who was snatched from her Leeds mother by the father nearly three years ago, a High Court judge has said.

Seven-year-old Elsa Salama was taken from the care of Naomi Button, from Bramley, by Egyptian father Tamer Salama during a holiday in Sharm El Sheikh in December 2011.

Family court litigation launched by Ms Button is continuing. But yesterday judge Mrs Justice Hogg said Elsa’s precise whereabouts were still unknown, although the youngster was thought to be in Egypt.

The judge said both parents were in England and wanted their daughter to return.

Mrs Justice Hogg agreed to reveal the information at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London after being asked if the public could be given an update on the case.

Judges have heard that Ms Button was visiting Egypt with Elsa and Mr Salama when the little girl went missing.

Tamer Salama, a teacher from Southampton, was jailed by a judge in January 2012 for breaching High Court orders to arrange Elsa’s return to England or to reveal where she was. However, he was released after a judge ruled in December 2013 that continuing to keep him in prison would not be proportionate or justifiable.

Last year the European Parliament’s child mediator, Roberta Angelilli, promised to raise the case with the Egyptian ambassador to the European Union after a campaign by Ms Button, 40.

It is thought Elsa is still with her father’s family in Egypt.

Speaking last year Ms Button, a leadership consultant, said: “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.”