Egypt Independent

Deputy culture minister to face trial following Van Gogh painting theft



Mohsen Shaalan, deputy culture minister and head of the ministry's fine arts department, along with ten others will soon stand trial in connection with last month's theft of Vincent Van Gogh's famous "Poppy Flowers" painting from a Cairo museum.

The 11 men have been charged with both negligence and professional delinquency.

According to judicial sources, the Dokki Misdemeanors Court will open initial court hearings into the case on 14 September. The same sources pointed out that forensic reports had provided no fingerprint evidence from the painting's frame.

Preliminary investigations have suggested negligence on the part of museum employees, revealing that museum visitors had not been searched or had their names registered upon entry. Investigators also found that the museum's surveillance cameras and security alarms had been out of order for years.

The painting,  worth an estimated US$55 million, was stolen late last month from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil Museum. Following the theft, six Egyptian museums were temporarily closed to have their security systems assessed and upgraded.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.