Judge to ask Foreign Secretary for help finding girl thought to be in Egypt

A High Court judge says he will ask Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for help finding a 12-year-old British girl who has been missing for more than seven years and is thought to be in Egypt.

Mr Justice Mostyn said on Wednesday that he aimed to ask the Foreign Office to use all “diplomatic measures” to find Elsa Salama.

Elsa is at the centre of proceedings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Mr Justice Mostyn is overseeing the latest stage of the litigation.

Judges have heard how Egyptian former teacher Tamer Salama took Elsa from her English mother Naomi Button in December 2011 while all three were visiting his relatives in Egypt.

Ms Button, a leadership consultant from Leeds, was forced to return to England alone.

She has not seen Elsa since.

Ms Button launched litigation after arriving back in the hope of getting Elsa home and is continuing that fight.

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.

Mr Justice Mostyn says he thinks that a formal approach to Mr Hunt should be made.

A judge has already made Elsa a ward of court – a move which gives judges the power to make decisions about a child’s movements.

Judges have been told that Ms Button does not know where Elsa is but suspects that she is in Cairo with Salama’s mother.