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Sculptor sentenced to 6 months over unlicensed excavation for antiquities

Thu, Feb. 21, 2019
CAIRO – 21 February 2019: Giza Criminal Court sentenced on Wednesday a sculptor at the Supreme Council for Antiquities to six months in prison and ruled that he pays a fine of LE 1 million over illegal drills near archeological areas in Giza.

The defendant has reportedly carried out illegal excavations in search for antiquities without authorization from concerned bodies.

Several citizens have been arrested over the past weeks for illegally digging under their houses in Giza in search for artifacts, as part of Tourism Police's crackdown against illicit trade in antiquities.

Last week, a man was arrested over excavating under his house located near Giza necropolis; in the house, the police found four pieces that are suspected to be antiquities.

The seizures were: a 35 cm-statute for a standing person with head missing, a 17*23 cm-stone tableau carrying embossed inscriptions for a man and a woman, a small-sized statute with a broken head and a large scarab.

Law No. 117 of 1983 imposes a prison term of 5 to 7 years and a fine of not less than LE 5,000($284) and not more than LE 7,000 ($397) on anyone who is proven guilty of illegal excavation for antiquities.

An ancient tomb was unearthed beneath a house in Giza, near the more than 4,000-year-old pyramids, after an excavation was carried out by the house owner, Tourism Police said in a statement on Feb. 3.

The house owner was arrested as he excavated illegally. As per the law of antiquities, any excavations should be conducted after getting permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities or from the Tourism Police Department; then, a committee should be formed by officials from the two bodies to check the presence of ancient artifacts.

However, several illegal excavations have been reported recently because the owners of the archaeological sites are not compensated appropriately by the government.

 
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