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Egypt releases British man arrested for sexual assault after 'patting security guard on the back' Open in fullscreen

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Egypt releases British man arrested for sexual assault after 'patting security guard on the back'

Tony Camoccio, 51, is set to travel back to the UK following his release [PA]

Date of publication: 15 February, 2020

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An Egyptian court has freed a British national accused of sexual assault after finding a lack of evidence against him.

A British citizen accused of sexual assault against an airport security guard in Egypt has been released after being detained since last week.

Tony Camoccio, 51, was taken into custody at Hurghada airport over what his family say was a "pat on the back".

An Egyptian court dismissed the charges against Camoccio over a lack of evidence, according to the group Detained in Dubai.

"We are very happy to report that British citizen Tony Camoccio has been released from Egyptian custody after paying approximately £1,000 in bail and related fees," Radha Stirling, Detained in Dubai's head, was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

"The case has been dismissed for lack of evidence, and Tony will be flying home to the UK on the next available flight from Cairo."

Camoccio was arrested by airport security after reportedly patting a security officer on the back during a routine pat-down.

Egyptian alleged that Camoccio made inappropriate gestures at a police officer, claiming that his alleged advances were captured on camera.

Staff at Hurghada airport were later unwilling to share the footage.

Camoccio is due to travel back to the UK to be reunited with his family.

"I'm very excited to be heading home and can't wait to see all of my family and rest after the past week's events. I'm very thankful to everyone for their support, my friends and family, my lawyer, Elezab Ali Elezab, John Kenny from the consulate, and Radha Stirling, who have done their best to get me home," Camoccio said in a statement.

Read also: Egypt builds a wall around Sharm el-Sheikh to 'keep out terrorists and Bedouins'

Sexual harassment has persisted as a major concern for in Egypt, however the prevalence of social media and smartphones has meant an increasing number of attacks have been caught on tape since the 2000s.

According to surveys, Egyptian women feel unsafe in the streets, and cases of street harassment were especially prevalent during protests of 2011 and 2013.

Egypt hardened its sexual harassment laws in 2014. As well as a broader definition of harassment, it is now punishable by up to five years in prison.

While rights groups complain that authorities still aren't doing enough to combat the problem, cases like Camoccio's also highlight concerns about Egypt's justice system.

"While the charges were clearly without merit, we have to emphasise that had British authorities and the international press not paid attention to this case, there is no reason to believe that Tony would be a free man today," Stirling said.

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