Zamalek apartment antiquities trading couple sentenced to 5 years

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Saturday 18 Jun 2022

A Cairo criminal court sentenced on Saturday a man and his wife to five years in prison for illegally trading in antiquities and possessing artefacts in their apartment in the upscale Cairo neighbourhood of Zamalek.

Zamalek apartment
Seized artefacts from the Zamalek apartment


The couple were also fined EGP one million (approximately $53,000) each.

Today’s verdict is not final and can be appealed.

The case, locally dubbed as “Zamalek apartment antiquities trial," dates back to May 2021 when police found a large quantity of ancient artefacts and rare jewellery in the apartment while executing an unrelated warrant against the defendants' son.

In February, the Public Prosecution referred the couple to trial, accusing them of illegally possessing 1,384 ancient artefacts that are not registered with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), the government body in charge of protecting Egyptian heritage.

The couple did not notify the SCA within the legal grace period of 48 hours of the artefacts in order to be registered despite knowing they are archeological pieces, according to the prosecution.

The artefacts date back to the Ancient Egyptian and Islamic eras as well as the Mohamed Ali Dynasty, according to the prosecution's referral-to-court statement.

The couple were also found in possession of 119 artefacts from Egypt’s Khedival period in the 19th century.

The husband is the son of Abdel-Fattah Hassan, a former interior minister under King Farouk (1936-1952) - the last ruler of Egypt from the Mohamed Ali dynasty.

Mohamed Ali Pasha was the Albanian ruler of Egypt between 1805 and 1848.

In a statement circulated by local media at the time of his referral, the accused asserted that he had inherited the artefacts from his family.

In February, the court issued a media gag order in the case.

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