Egypt court reduces sentences against businessman, former MP for antiquity trafficking

Ahram Online , Friday 20 Jan 2023

Egypt’s Court of Cassation reduced on Thursday sentences against prominent businessman and former MP Hassan Rateb to three years in addition to a EGP 1 million fine for illegally excavating and trafficking in antiquities.

Cairo Appeal Court


The court also reduced the sentences against former MP and spiritual healer Alaa Hassanin in the same case to five years in addition to a EGP 1 million fine. The cassation court also acquitted Hassanin from the destroying ancient artefacts charge in the same case.

It also reduced the sentences against 21 other defendants in the case to two years in prison.

Rateb was arrested in June 2021 for financing a gang of 17 people, led by former MP Hassanin, for the purpose of illegal archaeological excavation.

The prosecution accused Rateb of funding Hassanin and others with millions of pounds to excavate antiquities, with the purpose of smuggling them abroad.

In April 2022, Cairo criminal court sentenced Hassan Rateb to five years in prison.

The court also sentenced Hassanin and five other accomplices to 10 years in prison each.

The seventeen other defendants in the case were sentenced to five years in prison and an EGP 1 million fine each.

Rateb, the former owner of Al-Mehwar satellite channel, was the chairman of Sinai University, Sama Group and the Sinai Cement Company which he both founded.

Egypt imposes tough penalties on antiquities trafficking, which increased following the 2011 revolution.

Illegal archaeological digging, antiquities trafficking and smuggling offences carry penalties varying from seven years to life imprisonment.

Over the past several years, Egypt has returned hundreds of antiquities that had been looted and smuggled abroad.

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