Thursday 21 April 2011

Egypt court jails officials over Museum theft

CAIRO, April 21 (Reuters) Egypt court jails officials over Van Gogh theft
An Egyptian court on Thursday jailed five officials, including a former head of the state's fine arts department, over the theft of a Van Gogh painting worth an estimated $55 million, state media said. "Vase with Viscaria" was stolen in August from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil museum, home to one of the Middle East's finest collections of 19th and 20th-century art. The state MENA news agency and court officials said the five had been found guilty of "causing the theft of the painting," without giving further details. The painting has not been recovered. A police investigation soon after the theft found that security measures at the museum were extremely lax, raising fears about the safety of the treasure trove of art and antiquities on display in Egypt. Legal sources said the court sentenced Mohsen Shaalan, who was head of the culture ministry's fine arts department, to one year in jail and ordered him to perform community service. Four other employees at the museum were given six-month prison terms, said the sources.
Hmm, meanwhile the museum officials just on the other side of the river that went home on 28th January when there was a full-scale riot going on just outside its gates, leaving three security men on duty all night, in a museum whose security cameras did not register anything, not only are not going to jail, but are still in their posts. Odd, that. I wonder if they've at least got the security cameras working again?

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