UK

Charles Ferndale Named As Briton Sentenced To Death In Egypt For Drug Smuggling

03/06/2013 19:31 BST | Updated 03/06/2013 19:36 BST
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LONDON, UK - JUNE 2004: A plaque at the entrance to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on King Charles Street in Whitehall. This is a set of images from behind the scenes at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office involving a close look at the inner workings of this huge government department in London, UK. (Photo by David Purdie/Getty Images)

A British man sentenced to death in Egypt for smuggling drugs has been named by sources as pensioner Charles Raymond Ferndale.

The 74-year-old was arrested along with four others earlier this year, allegedly part of an "international gang", caught trying to smuggle three tons of hashish into Egypt via its south-eastern coast, a court official in the Red Sea Province said.

The Foreign Office said it was "extremely concerned" about the British sailor.

Its spokesman said: "The British government is extremely concerned at the death sentence passed down to a British national on 7 April and confirmed on 3 June.

"We are opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. Our consular team in Cairo are in contact with the British prisoner and we will do our utmost to prevent this execution."

A source said an official from the British Embassy in Egypt was in court.

In addition to the death sentences, the court imposed a fine of 85 million Egyptian pounds (£8m), according to the official.

Those convicted are a Briton, a Pakistani, and three individuals from the Republic of Seychelles.

The defendants are sailors who were arrested on board a ship near the Red Sea coastal town of Marsa Alam.

According to reports, the drugs originated in Pakistan and the Egyptian authorities recovered the haul - worth an estimated £2.9 million - in 118 bags.

The Seychelles government told the Seychelles Nation that the boat was owned by Mr Ferndale and his crew were three Seychellois: Ronny Norman Jean, 41; Yvon John Vinda, 38; Dean Dominic Loze, 27, and Pakistani Munawar Saeed Khan, 44.

Amnesty International UK anti-death penalty campaigner Kim Manning Cooper said: "This is extremely worrying news.

"The death penalty is cruel and unnecessary in all circumstances, but international standards clearly stipulate that capital punishment should never be imposed in non-lethal cases like this one.

"We will be pressing for the sentence against Mr Ferndale and the others in this case to be commuted.

"Executions were something we saw almost every year in Egypt during Mubarak's long authoritarian rule. Egypt should immediately impose a complete moratorium on the death penalty."