Tougher Penalties on Artefact Theft, Smuggling

Luxor is ancient Thebes and has a fascinating past. Share your knowledge or ask your questions here.

Moderators: DJKeefy, 4u Network

User avatar
Winged Isis
Egyptian Pharaoh
Egyptian Pharaoh
Posts: 3867
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:38 pm
Location: Australia
Has thanked: 1568 times
Been thanked: 1027 times
Gender:
Australia

Tougher Penalties on Artefact Theft, Smuggling

Post by Winged Isis »

Egypt debates bill to toughen penalties on artefact theft, smuggling
There are 72 antiquities warehouses in Egypt, all of which are owned and supervised by the Ministry of Antiquities.
March 11, 2018

CAIRO - Egypt has begun a bid to protect its antiquities from theft amid allegations that tens of thousands of priceless ones have disappeared.

The Egyptian parliament is debating legislation that would increase penalties — possibly to life in prison — for those convicted of illegally excavating, stealing, damaging or smuggling ancient artefacts.

“Toughening penalties in cases of antiquity theft is necessary if we want to protect our heritage,” said Nader Mustafa, a member of Egypt’s Culture, Media and Antiquities parliamentary committee, which is debating the legislation. “We cannot leave our antiquities to be easy prey for thieves like this.”

If enacted, the artefacts bill would replace a law that allows individuals to maintain possession of antiquities they obtained through inheritance.

Egyptian law states that anyone found guilty of smuggling artefacts out of the country could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined 1 million Egyptian pounds ($56,600). The maximum penalty for stealing an artefact, including the illegal removal of newly unearthed antiquities, is ten years in prison.

Critics calling for harsher sentences say the profit that can be made from stealing and smuggling antiquities far outweighs the punishment.

Antiquity theft has been on the rise in Egypt, with security at Egyptian museum warehouses said to be inadequate. Last August, a senior official at the Antiquities Ministry estimated that 32,600 artefacts had been stolen from ministry warehouses nationwide.

Ayman Ashmawy, who heads the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Section at the ministry, said most of the artefacts were stolen during the chaotic period following the 2011 revolution.

There are 72 antiquities warehouses in Egypt, all of which are owned and supervised by the Ministry of Antiquities. Thirty-five of the warehouses are part of or adjacent to museums.

However, there are questions about warehouse security, including issues involving record-keeping systems.

“You cannot protect the antiquities without introducing new security systems to the warehouses,” said Mohammed Hamza, a former dean of the College of Antiquities at Cairo University. “We have a huge number of antiquities at these warehouses and they need to be protected.”

The warehouses contain tens of thousands of artefacts, some of which have yet to be officially registered in ministry records. This means that many antiquities could have been stolen without authorities being aware of the theft.

Egyptian antiquities officials expressed frustration and alarm as they see historic national artefacts being sold at international auction houses, such as when the bedroom of Egypt’s King Farouk was put for sale at a US auction house in January.

In late 2016, antiquities officials learned about the sale of the statue of Sekhemka at a London auction house when Egyptians living in the British capital started a campaign to prevent the sale of the statue.

Last August, a street cleaner raided an antiquities warehouse in the southern Cairo district of Maadi and placed 200 small relics in a burlap sack before attempting to leave the building. He was arrested by security guards.

The new legislation seeks to ensure that antiquities stealing and smuggling ends by ensuring that punishment serves as an adequate deterrent. Apart from imprisonment, the bill raises fines in cases of conviction of antiquity smuggling to 10 million Egyptian pounds ($566,000), up from 100,000 pounds ($5,660).

It would punish people who move antiquities from one place to another without permission from the authorities with up to seven years in prison. Those who excavate antiquities without licence would be sentenced to seven years in prison.

Alaa al-Shahat, head of the central administration department for Cairo and Giza Antiquities, described the bill as a “good step” towards protecting the antiquities and scaring thieves away. “You cannot prevent the smuggling of the antiquities or excavation by thieves without toughening penalties,” he said.

There is universal approval of the bill inside the Culture, Media and Antiquities parliamentary committee, Mustafa said.

If the bill passes committee, it would be referred to the general parliamentary session for voting. Even if the legislation is enacted, Mustafa said, its effectiveness would depend on Egypt’s security apparatus enforcing it.

“Law enforcement is what matters at the end but the presence of the law is always a first step on the road to change,” Mustafa said. “After approving the bill, the parliament will keep an eye on its enforcement to ensure that our antiquities are kept out of the hands of thieves.”


https://thearabweekly.com/egypt-debates ... -smuggling


Carpe diem! :le:

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post
  • Penalties imposed on two amateur German archaeologists
    by DJKeefy » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:35 pm » in History and Archaeology
    8 Replies
    256 Views
    Last post by LivinginLuxor
    Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:34 am
  • Parliament approves tougher punishment for distorting Quran
    by DJKeefy » Wed May 09, 2012 6:22 am » in Politics and Religion
    0 Replies
    120 Views
    Last post by DJKeefy
    Wed May 09, 2012 6:22 am
  • Inventory of Artefact Storehouses Throughout Egypt Begins
    by Winged Isis » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:17 pm » in History and Archaeology
    5 Replies
    521 Views
    Last post by Hafiz
    Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:13 pm
  • UK museum selling artefact, officials to take legal action
    by DJKeefy » Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:46 pm » in History and Archaeology
    9 Replies
    177 Views
    Last post by carrie
    Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:13 pm
  • Theft Attempt at Nubia Museum in Aswan
    by Winged Isis » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:35 pm » in News and Sport
    18 Replies
    547 Views
    Last post by A-Four
    Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:11 pm