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Egypt judge gives verdicts in Van Gogh 'Poppy Painting' theft

Six officials have been given sentences from six months to a year following Van Gogh's Poppy Painting theft trial, but the painting is yet to be found

Ahram Online, Sunday 6 May 2012
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Egypt's Court of Cassation, headed by Judge Ahmed Mohamed Yehia, imprisoned Mohsen Shaalan, former undersecretary of the ministry of culture for a year and Sobhy Mohamed, the museum's former director general of security, to six months.

The judge, however, accepted the appeal from of the remaining defendants and will retry the case.

Shaalan is to be sentenced a year in prison on charges of negligence and incompetence in the performance of his duties, which permitted the theft of Van Gogh's famous Poppy Painting from the Museum of Mr and Mrs Mahmoud Khalil in Dokki.

The court also imprisoned three other museum workers to six months: the museum's deputy, director and head of security (Maria Mishay, Reem Ahmed and Adel Mohammed, respectively).

Five other defendants, museum officers and staff have been acquitted.

The Poppy Painting was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in August 2010, due to lax security. It was previously reported that the famous painting of a vase filled with yellow poppies was sliced from its frame and taken. After a 48-hour investigation within the ministry, administrative prosecution accused artist and former minister, Mohsen Shaalan, along with 11 of the ministry’s security officials, and brought the case to the Disciplinary Court for trial.

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