The family of Yann Bourdon, a 27-year-old French history student, says the young man has disappeared in Cairo since last August. He was on a world tour and, before reaching Cairo, had crossed Europe and Turkey.
Since last November, an investigation has been opened, for the moment without results, with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs following the case.
Yann’s mother, Isabelle Leclerc, and his sister, Wendy, spoke to Daily News Egypt about the case.
They said Yann, who studies history in the Sorbonne University in Paris, flew to Sharm El-Sheikh from Istanbul on 25 July. He spent two days in Sharm El Sheikh, where he visited Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine, before heading to Cairo on 27 July. On his way, he met an Egyptian police officer in Suez governorate, according to an email Yann sent to his sister, and this officer invited the French student to spend some time with his friends in Cairo.
According to the family, Yann spent the night in a hostel in Cairo. He kept in touch with his sister during these few days and his last email was on 4 August. In his last message, he said he met with the young police officer and visited the Egyptian Museum and was going to write to her again. According to Wendy, Yann communicated with her via email only, whenever he had Internet.
In September, the mother waited for a message from her son on the occasion of her birthday, but he did not message her. The same thing happened again in November, the month of his sister’s birthday.
“When you are on a journey, you may forget the dates. I tried to convince myself that he might be fine,” says the mother.
In November, the family reported Yan’s disappearance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris and the French Embassy in Cairo. When the latter communicated with the Egyptian security, they were told that Yann had not been in Egypt.
Afterwards, Egyptian police confirmed that Yann had been in Sharm El-Sheikh on 25 July.
French investigations also revealed four ATM transactions made by Yann’s credit card on 7 August, three days after his last email. The four transactions were conducted in an area near Tahrir Square, Cairo downtown. He withdrew €200 over four operations within five minutes, according to the family. “Yann does not spend much normally. He withdrew only €50 a long time before this occasion,” says Wendy.
Family of French students awaits answers
“We trusted the investigation and waited for answers. We didn’t want to politicize the case,” the family told Daily News Egypt. “We decided to go to the media because we had no other option and we started to lose hope. We are afraid for Yann‘s life,” says Isabelle.
The mother and sister came to Cairo last May and met with the French ambassador and the Egyptian prosecutor. The meeting lasted for three hours, but they were unable to meet with any representative of the Egyptian security despite the embassy’s request.
“The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is well aware of the case. Its diplomatic and consular offices in Cairo are in contact with the family, as well as the Egyptian authorities, and are doing their best to assist them,” a French source close to the case told Daily News Egypt.
Wendy said: “We are not satisfied with the French authorities’ handling of Yann’s disappearance. We feel they do not take it seriously. They do not exercise enough pressure on the Egyptian authorities.”
Daily News Egypt could not reach the Egyptian Ministry of Interior for comment.