Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Recovered Artifacts, US: Egypt Retrieves 5 Smuggled Artifacts from US

The Egyptian Embassy in Washington retrieved five ancient Egyptian artifacts that were stolen and smuggled to the US in the wake of the security lapse caused by the 2011 uprising, the foreign ministry announced in a Sunday statement.

The restored artifacts include two wooden coffins; hand and mask of a mummy rapped in linen, said Yasser Reda, the Egyptian Ambassador to the US. The American authorities issued a decision on the right of Egypt to recover the artifacts after the embassy had provided all legal evidence that they were illegally smuggled out of Egypt, Reda said, adding that the embassy will officially receive the artifacts in November.

Egypt’s ancient sites have been targeted for thousands of years but the upheavals and the security lapse following the 2011 revolution have helped looters and tomb robbers target museums and several archaeological sites for treasures to sell on the black market.

Following the 2011 uprising, a third of Egypt’s archaeological sites “have been either looted, exposed to agricultural encroachments or illegal building or experienced illicit digging,” world-renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawaas said in a statement earlier this year.

He called on the current Antiquities Ministry to push for harsher punishment on antiquities crimes by changing the crime description from misdemeanor to felony.

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