The Egyptian statue of Sekhemka (Photo: AP)
Prominent Egyptologist Zahi Hawass is to launch on Monday a petition aimed at halting the controversial sale by Northampton Museum of a 4,500-year-old statue a scribe called Sekhemka.
Hawass is calling for the international community to boycott Northampton Museum and its board. He will single out David Kennedy, chief executive of Northampton Borough Council, he told Ahram Online.
Hawass said that "the sale of the statue is a cultural crime against Egypt's heritage and the international community should stand shoulder-to-shoulder against such a crime."
He went on to assert that housing the statue does not give Northampton Museum the authority to sell it.
"Guardianship of the statue is the right of the Egyptian government, which is responsible for preserving and protecting the country's heritage, here or abroad," Hawass said.
He went further, saying the museum's board should now be seen as antiquities traders rather than intellectuals responsible for protecting the world's cultural heritage.
Hawass said his petition will be launched on Monday on Twitter and Facebook, and should be signed by antiquities enthusiasts, archeologists and anyone "keen on Egypt's heritage".
Hawass said that he launched a similar campaign several years ago against the handling of the Nefertiti Bust by the New Museum, Berlin.