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BBC Scotland's Craig Anderson
"Friends of Sasha speak of their desire to see her again"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 8 March, 2000, 23:08 GMT
Father guilty of kidnapping daughter
Sasha's classmates back home release balloons in her memory
Click here to watch the BBC Scotland Frontline programme, Searching for Sasha, broadcast on 15 February

The father of a missing Scottish schoolgirl - who failed to turn up for a court appearance in France - has been found guilty of kidnap and sentenced to one year in jail.

In his absence Robert Cameron was also ordered to pay a sum of money amounting to around 1,000 to his daughter Sasha Cameron's mother Fiona Cameron.

Mrs Cameron said outside the French court on Wednesday: "I hoped and I prayed that I would be reunited with my daughter today, but I really knew deep in my heart that it was a forlorn hope.

Robert Cameron
Robert Cameron: Failed to appear at court
"I simply have to find some comfort in that the warrant for his arrest might bring us one step closer in the long and distressing task of finding Sasha."

An international criminal warrant for the arrest of Mr Cameron has now been issued.

Nine-year-old Sasha Cameron has not been seen or heard of since last July when she travelled to France with her sister for a holiday with her father.

If Mr Cameron and had appeared at the Palace de Justice in Angouleme to answer the charges previous court decisions would have been followed and Sasha would have been returned to her mother.

Address unknown

A Children's Panel warrant for the child's return has been granted in Scotland, but it cannot be delivered because her address is unknown.

France and the UK are signatories to the Hague Convention on child abduction, but it cannot be enacted for the same reason.

Portmahomack, a small village on the Moray Firth, has been festooned with yellow ribbons - the international symbol of homecoming - since the youngster's disappearance.

Sasha Cameron
Sasha has been missing since July
Sasha has not been forgotten at her Highland village home and in a poignant ceremony on Wednesday her schoolfriends launched 243 balloons - one for every day she has been gone - into the sky.

The Cameron divorce and custody battle, which started in 1994, was long, bitter and fought out in courts in Edinburgh and France.

During it, Ms Cameron herself went on the run with her two daughters.

At one stage she was found in contempt of court and narrowly escaped a prison sentence.

Mr Cameron is believed to have sold his home in the Charente region of France and disappeared with Sasha and his girlfriend Ms Carter.

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