Egypt retrieves 9 smuggled artefacts from France

Daily News Egypt
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News reports, including the state's official media, had published Sunday stories accounting for the arrest of two brothers who are senior prosecution officers on accusations of looting antiquities, with the collaboration of some police officers. (AFP FILE PHOTO / MAHMOUD KHALED)

Egypt retrieved on Thursday nine artefacts from France that were illegally smuggled and then seized by French authorities.

Eight of the retrieved artefacts were caught with a passenger at a train station on his way to London in 2012, according to state media outlet Ahram Online.

The artefacts include a human head carved in basalt and two statues featuring cats, as well as five fragments of an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus.

Over the years, since they were seized, both the ministries of antiquities and foreign affairs followed the case and proved Egypt’s ownership of the antiquities that were kept with French authorities. The Egyptian Embassy in Paris was delivered the objects at the end of 2017, Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, head of the repatriation department at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.

The ninth retrieved artefact is a wooden mummy mask covered with plaster. Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities spotted the mask while being sold at a Parisian auction hall. After undergoing study, the mask was proved to be stolen from the storage of Elephantine Island in 2013. The ministry also followed procedures to prove Egypt’s ownership, and successfully returned it by the end of 2017.

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