Monday, 28 March 2011

Two Captured Egyptian Museum Looters to go on Trial

Al-Masry Al-Youm is reporting that
The Tourism and Antiquities Police referred two suspects accused of stealing artifacts from the Egyptian Museum for military trial, according to an Interior Ministry statement released Monday.[...] The first suspect is a mechanic and the second unemployed. The statement said an undercover officer impersonated a dealer and agreed to give the suspects LE1 million for the antiquities.
The 1 million Egyptian pounds is still a high figure but more realistic than the sum being reported earlier. It would seem from the article that the two are from the group of three people arrested for trying to 'fence' the stolen objects (so what happened to the third guy arrested?). Also this leaves unknown the fate of the thief reportedly apprehended on the museum premises on the night of the robbery (28th Jan or the morning of 29th Jan). Very few details have emerged about who he was (some reports seem to suggest he was "from Fayoum") and how he was arrested (and what he had on him at the time). I trust he is being well-looked-after while being questioned. Let is also be remembered that Zahi Hawass several times assured us that he had talked to the thieves (in the plural in both English and Arabic) in military custody but there is no clarity about how and when he did this, or whether it happened at all.

It seems from the statement the two men are accused of stealing the items and not merely handling stolen goods. I hope the military trial will be open and that it will reveal more of the background of these sorry events.

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