Egypt smuggler caught in Brussels, 80 artefacts to return home

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 1 Apr 2012

Egyptian woman caught smuggling 80 artefacts -including Islamic, Coptic and ancient antiquities- through Brussels airport; Court orders their return to Egypt

archieved photo of a lion shaped pot

The Belgian court of appeal on Sunday ordered the return to Egypt of 80 artefacts stolen and smuggled out of the country.

The artefacts were discovered in April 2010 when customs officials at Brussels airport caught an Egyptian woman trying to smuggle the small objects inside two large wooden replica statues. Belgium police confiscated the artefacts and called the national museum to judge their authenticity. The case was sent to court after the museum found they were genuine.

In collaboration with the Egyptian embassy in Brussels, Egypt claimed possession of the confiscated collection and won a court verdict to recover them, said Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

Osama El-Nahas, director general of the returned antiquities section at the antiquities ministry, told Ahram Online that the objects would arrive in Egypt within days. The collection includes 11 small wooden and limestone statuettes, 11 amulets, 27 scarabs from the ancient Egyptian era, Islamic cylindrical seals, a Coptic child's garb, a small decorated piece of textile, a lion-shaped Ptolemaic pot and a prehistoric clay pot.


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