Sunday 22 January 2012

Egypt: More Details on the January "Bastet" Sting

I am grateful to Nicole Hanson for pointing out an article by Mahmoud Abdel-Radi on Youm 7, Monday, January 9, 2012 (but not as far as I can see reported anywhere else) which gives an account of the capture of five men and the retrieval of one of the objects stolen from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This text is in Arabic. It says (as far as I can make it out) that police together with officials from the Ministry of the Interior arrested several known criminals who were in possession of "rare pieces stolen from the Egyptian Museum" during the "events of the revolution". One defendant "Imad T. M" was offering one of the "pieces" for sale, in the form of a statue of Bastet. A team of detectives was formed to arrest the accused and his partners, by pretending to be interested buyers and set up a sting. The accused was arrested along with four other men.

The article gives brief details of the five men, giving their names and initials. They are all aged between 31 and 35. Four of the men came from Ausin (a small town 12 km to the NW of Cairo) , and the newspaper is careful to report that two of them had previously been charged with "misdemeanours" (one in 1996, and the other several times, the latest in 2008).

One man arrested, Hossam, was a resident of Abnub, Assiut Governorate, 312 km to the south (and again reportedly had been convicted in 2010 down south). Interestingly, one of the Ausin men "Ashraf M. M" (31 years) is the son of
"prisoner, "Mr M.M." sentenced to 15 years in issue No. 360 east of Cairo military crimes for the year 2011, for possession of 5 pieces archaeological amount stolen from the Egyptian Museum".
The "five" objects to which this refers are presumably those retrieved from the 27/3/11 (Khan el Khalili) bust, and it is notable that these were was of five objects from Room 19 and no other. The only figure of Bastet on the list of missing items (JE 36598) also came from Room 19 on the first floor of the Museum. It would seem that "MM" was one of the gang that trashed and then robbed this part of the Museum. It would be VERY interesting to know what his place of work was. It is interesting to speculate that it was his capture that led to the recovery (May 2nd) of two other statues from room 19, which as will be recalled were found with two other statues from somewhere else (where was, I believe, never revealed). It looks therefore as if MM sold part of his haul to those who were somehow involved in the illegal antiquities trade, or perhaps he himself had been.

In that case, people in the trade should keep an eye out especially for the remaining three items from that room, which may already have been successfully sold, or may come on the market soon: JE 9080 Statue of Onuris, TR bronze false beard, TR bronze false beard.

Vignettes: Top, the best photo the Egyptian Museum could apparently come up with for the "figure of Bastet dedicated by Padiamun" JE 36598 (from the published missing objects list) and below a fuzzy photo of the five defendants from the article in Youm 7.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.