Egyptian government cannot halt Semenkha statue sale: Antiquities minister

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 25 Aug 2015

Antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty responds to Zahi Hawass' petition calling for legal action against Northampton Museum

The 4500-year-old ancient Egyptian statue of Sekhemka (Photo: Courtesy of Egypt's Antiquities ministry)

"Egypt cannot file a lawsuit against Northampton Museum in Britain for selling the 4500-year-old statue of Sekhemka," antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online.

On Monday well-known Egyptian Egyptologist Zahi Hawass released a petition calling for an international campaign to boycott the museum, and demanding of the Egyptian government to file a lawsuit against the institution.

Elmatady explained that his ministry cannot ask Egypt's State Council, the judicial body which represents the government in legal disputes, to file a lawsuit against Northampton Museum because the council does not have the authority to do so.

"If we file it in Egypt the State Council will reject the case. If we file it in London we will definitely lose the case," Eldamaty asserted.

Our only option, he continued, is to call on Egyptian businessmen and antiquities lovers to provide the funds to buy the statue off its new owner and return it to Egypt.

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