British tourist in Egyptian jail after ‘patting police officer on the back’

Samuel Lovett
Help Tony Camoccio/Facebook

A British man has allegedly been arrested and accused of sexual assault for patting a male police officer on the back at an airport in Egypt.

Tony Camoccio was undergoing routine security checks at Hurghada International Airport ahead of his flight home to London on 8 February when the incident took place.

The 51-year-old businessman was then taken into detention at a local police station in the popular resort town on Egypt’s east coast.

More than 3,700 people have since signed an online petition calling for Mr Camoccio to be released.

The petition reads: “At customs in Hurghada airport on his outbound journey, he (Mr Camoccio) was at final checkpoint where he was, as a standard procedure for all outbound passengers, patted down by a security officer.

“Tony then gently patted the officer’s back, and is now facing serious accusations.

“He was held in a general population cell overnight where he remained in handcuffs, petrified for his life as he did not know what he was supposedly being charged with or what he had done wrong.

“His basic human rights were being abused and these are false accusations.”

The page adds it took two days for authorities to pass on food, water, clothes and toiletries brought to the police station by Mr Camoccio's wife and son.

Egyptian officials claim the Briton made sexual gestures at a police officer and that CCTV footage supports their version of events, according The Guardian.

Mr Camoccio’s relatives insist otherwise, arguing that video evidence which proves the Briton's innocence is being “held back by the Egyptian police”.

Egyptian prosecutors ordered that Mr Camoccio be detained for four days pending an investigation into the incident.

His family say his detention was then extended for a further 15 days, but he has not been charged.

“The police are very uncooperative and are withholding evidence that would clear Tony of any wrongdoing,” an update read on the petition webite earlier this week.

“We [are] really struggling out here and receiving very little help from the embassy or our consular. He is completely innocent and have [sic] been kept in inhuman conditions.”

Mr Camoccio was with a party of 18 people on vacation in Hurghada and is said to have visited Egypt a number of times.

His father, Peter, a retired company director from Sutton in Surrey, told MailOnline: “The case went to court but it could not proceed because the man he was supposed to have upset was not there.

“My daughter-in-law was told if she apologised to the man it might make it good so they went to the airport but he was not there and he could not be found.

“They said he had left. We don’t know what’s going on.”

Mr Camoccio’s sister-in-law Brenda Doody said on social media it was a “dreadful situation” for the family and that she was “worried sick”.

The Foreign Office has said it is in contact with the family and officials in Egypt.

The Independent has contacted Egyptian authorities for comment.

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