Dad jailed 25 years

THE FAMILY of a man sentenced to 25-years in an Egyptian prison after a ‘farce’ of a trial hopes to raise �14,000 to launch an appeal.

Pierre Wassef, 30, who grew up in Oxford Road, Kilburn, was convicted of drug trafficking on the basis of a forced confession in October 20, 2008.

Pierre and brother Phillipe, 27, who both attended Cardinal Hinsley School, in Harlesden, went to Egypt in 2004 to after their father had a heart attack.

But on November 26, 2007, whilst working for the family business they were arrested in a car-park as they went shopping for food.

Phillipe, who studied at the College of North West London, said: “The police were waiting for us and the minute we pulled up they jumped on us. They asked to go back to the house and we took them there and they searched it. At the police station they said they found a load of cocaine in the house and left us there for 3 days without contacting anyone.”

While there, they were handcuffed, beaten and refused food, water or toilet facilities, before Pierre, who is married with three children, was forced to sign a confession, he said.

He was then paraded on national television as an international drug smuggler.

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In court Pierre was denied the right to be present despite being in police custody.

After a retrial he was convicted again.

During the retrial the police denied even arresting Phillipe despite presenting forged arrest warrants with the wrong time and place of arrest for them both.

Phillipe said: “They said they had been watching us for six months but didn’t even know my address or know how to spell the name of the village we lived in.”

The arresting officers then refused to answer questions from the prosecution, the defence or the judge on the basis they could not remember the facts of the arrest.

The pair, who have no previous drug convictions, deny ever possessing any drugs.