Leeds mum spending eighth Christmas without daughter continues court fight

A Leeds mum who is spending an eighth Christmas thousands of miles from her daughter is preparing for the next stage of a family court battle with her Egyptian ex-husband.

Undated handout file photo issued by Quest Public Relations of Elsa Salama with her mother Naomi Button.

Former teacher Tamer Salama took Elsa Salama from her mother, Naomi Button, in December 2011 while all three were visiting his relatives in Egypt.

Ms Button, who is in her 40s and from Leeds, was forced to return to England alone and has not seen Elsa, who will turn 12 in February, since.

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She launched family court litigation after arriving back in the hope of getting Elsa home.

Salama, who subsequently returned to England without Elsa, was jailed in January 2012 for breaching judges' orders to arrange Elsa's return to England or to reveal where she was.

But a judge ordered his release in December 2013 after deciding that continuing to keep him in prison was no longer proportionate or justifiable.

Ms Button is continuing her fight and preparing for more hearings in 2019.

Salama, who is also in his 40s, has told judges, who are overseeing the case at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, that Elsa is living with his mother 3,500 miles away in Cairo and beyond his control. But judges say they will not give up.

Justice Mostyn, who oversaw a hearing shortly before Christmas, has ordered Salama to prepare an affidavit spelling out everything he knows about Elsa's circumstances and whereabouts before the end of January.

The judge said if Salama, who lives in Manchester and has lived in Nottingham and Southampton, failed to make that written statement he could face the possibility of being returned to jail.