A British businessman is being held in a ‘filthy’ Egyptian jail cell with murderers and gangsters after being arrested for patting a male airport security guard on the back, his father has revealed.
Tony Camoccio, 51, was arrested and falsely accused of sexually assaulting the official as he was about to leave the North African country with a group of family and friends.
Mr Comaccio was thrown into the notorious Hurghada Police Station Number One and his wife, Joan, 59, and family are desperately trying to secure his release.
His father Peter Camoccio, 73, from Sutton, Surrey, said: ‘He’s been slung in a filthy cell with gangsters and murderers. It’s got no roof and he’s sleeping on a concrete floor with only a blanket. The situation is chronic.
Tony Camoccio (pictured left with his wife Joan, right) a British father-of four has been locked up in an Egyptian prison for five days after patting an airport security guard on the back
Mr Camoccio’s nightmare began on Saturday February 8 when he jokingly patted a security guard at the airport on the back after he was frisked by the officer at the airport going home
This is the moment Mr Camoccio, from Sutton, in Surrey, was arrested at the airport after the security guard took offence at his actions and accused the Brit of sexual assault
‘The case went to court but it could not proceed because the man he was supposed to have upset was not there,’ said the retired company director.
‘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 has spent five days in jail in Hurghada without charge and his family claim he was kept in handcuffs the first night and initially given no food or water in his cell.
The jail was described as ‘horrendous’ by British woman Laura Plummer, 34, from Hull, who spent two months in the prison in 2018, as part of a 14 month sentence for a drugs offence.
A friend of Mr Camoccio told MailOnline the father-of-four was facing a false charge of sexual assault and could be detained for another two weeks while police investigate.
In a statement, he said: ‘He is completely innocent and have been kept in inhuman conditions.
‘He has four children and a loving wife and many friends. We need this man, his wife and his son to come back home.’
The nightmare started when Mr Camoccio came to the end of his holiday with Joan and a group of 18 friends.
The 51-year-old’s father Peter Camoccio says his son is being held in an Egyptian jail cell with no roof and sleeping on a concrete floor with just a blanket for warmth after he was arrested
Mr Camoccio was at the airport (above) returning to Surrey after a family holiday with his wife Joan and son when he was arrested for patting the security man
Mr Comaccio was thrown into the notorious Hurghada Police Station Number One (above) where British woman Laura Plummer was kept when she was held for smuggling painkillers
They were leaving the popular resort of Hurghada on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, an area renowned for endless sandy, beaches, scuba diving on coral reefs and vibrant nightlife.
As he passed through airport security, he received the standard pat down by a guard and, according to his family, patted the officer on the back.
But the airport official is thought to have taken exception to the Briton’s ‘friendly gesture’ and the police moved in, quickly shipping Mr Camoccio off to a prison cell.
He was expected to be released on Sunday but officers have now told the family they need another 15 days to investigate the case.
Christine Sachett, 68, who has known Mr Camoccio’s family for more than 50 years, said: ‘We have been told they are inhuman conditions. Tony is such a lovely, lovely guy. He is family orientated. And his wife is an absolute diamond.’
A video taken by a friend shows the immediate aftermath of the incident in the customs area of the airport.
Strangely, given the seriousness of the allegation against Mr Camoccio, the police appear disinterested in him.
More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the release of Mr Camoccio, who is a regular visitor to Hurghada, 250 miles south east of Egypt’s capital, Cairo
He is directed to sit down in the customs area and he is left unattended. There is no confrontation with officers in the video.
Meanwhile, Mr Camoccio’s sons and their friends have spent the day protesting outside the Eqyptian Embassy in Mayfair, London.
More than 2,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the release of Mr Camoccio, who is a regular visitor to Hurghada, 250 miles south east of Egypt’s capital, Cairo.
A statement supporting Mr Camoccio said: ‘He was at the final checkpoint where he was patted down by a security officer. Tony then gently patted the officers back, and is now facing serious accusations.
‘He was held in a 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.’
The incident took place in front of Mr Camoccio’s adult son, Remo, 26, on Saturday February 8.
He was jailed, but it was only four days later that the accusation of sexual assault was made, the family say. He was due to appear in court the following day, but the hearing did not take place.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is assisting the family. A spokesman said: ‘We are in contact with a British man who has been arrested in Egypt. Our staff are in touch with his family and the Egyptian authorities’
‘The situation has been blown up,’ said the family friend. ‘There is video evidence being held back by the Egyptian police that proves that this is a lie. The officer has accused Tony of sexual assaulting him which is evidently not the case.
‘The police are now saying they want up to 15 days more to investigate. The police are very uncooperative. His basic rights were being abused and these are false accusations.
In January last year, Ms Plummer (with her boyfriend) was released after 14 months’ jail
‘The police officers at the station asked that his wife and son brought food, water, clothes and any toiletries or things he may need and these belongings were not passed on for an entire two days.’
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is assisting the family in Egypt.
Up to 500,000 British holidaymakers visit Egypt each year.
A spokesman said: ‘We are in contact with a British man who has been arrested in Egypt. Our staff are in touch with his family and the Egyptian authorities.’
Earlier this month another British tourist claimed holidaymakers had been mistreated at Hurghada airport after they were ‘locked’ in a room for nine hours after their flight was delayed.
Ros Somes, 66, from Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk told the Eastern Daily Press that she and fellow passengers were treated like cattle.
In January last year, British woman Ms Plummer was released after a ‘horrendous’ year and two months in Eqyptian jails.
The shop assistant from Hull was caged for three years on Boxing Day 2017 for bringing 290 tablets of Tramadol into the country on a flight from Manchester to Hurghada.
Ms Plummer, a shop assistant from Hull was caged for three years on Boxing Day 2017 for bringing 290 tablets of Tramadol into the country on a flight from Manchester to Hurghada
Ms Plummer was initially jailed in Hurghada, the same prison as Mr Camocci, before she was transferred to Al Qanater, an all-female prison in Cairo.
Speaking about her ordeal on Good Morning Britain, Laura said: ‘In Hurghada there was fighting every night.
‘I witnessed the most horrendous things I never thought I’d see in my life. I was there two-and-a-half months…that was the worst bit.
‘The worse moment was Hurghada when I saw women get tortured with sticks on my second day.’