The Egyptian Public Prosecution announced on Monday the recovery of 36 antiquities from the Spanish authorities, which were smuggled to Madrid during 2014.
The prosecution said in a statement that a high-level delegation from the Egyptian Public Prosecution moved to the Spanish capital, Madrid, earlier this week, in order to retrieve the artifacts.
“This handover was the result of effective judicial cooperation, and the result of concerted efforts between the Public Prosecution, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and the Egyptian Embassy in Spain to coordinate with the authorities there in order to preserve the Egyptian historical heritage, and the culmination of judicial cooperation between the two countries with the aim of combating this type of crime,” it said.
The recovery procedures began Monday, with the travel of the Egyptian Public Prosecution delegation, accompanied by the Egyptian ambassador to Spain, Youssef Mekkawi, to the National Heritage Museum in Madrid, where they met the director of the museum and officials of the Spanish authorities.
The delegation inspected the seized antiquities and matched them with the pictures sent by the former Spanish authorities, which were examined by the Recovered Antiquities Department of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
They recovered the pieces after properly ensuring that they matched up with the pictures.
The delegation of the Egyptian Public Prosecution inspected the seized antiquities and matched them with the pictures sent by the Spanish authorities, which were examined by the Recovered Antiquities Department of the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.
The delegation recovered the pieces after making sure that they matched the pictures.
The statement explained that the delegation will supervise the procedures for packaging and shipping the recovered antiquities to Egypt in preparation for their delivery to the officials of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities in Cairo.
It said that the investigations of the Egyptian Public Prosecution began in June 2014, with correspondences received from the Spanish authorities to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry on seizing 36 Egyptian artifacts in the port of Valencia in Spain that came from Alexandria.
The Public Prosecution began investigations, which concluded that six defendants – one of whom is the owner of an import and export office in Alexandria – teamed in smuggling the seized items to Spain, and forging documents related to the export of containers that included smuggled Egyptian antiquities.
The investigations ended with them sent to criminal trial on charges of smuggling antiquities abroad, forging and using official documents, and the court sentenced them to prison.
The Public Prosecution followed up the legal procedures taken in Spain until a ruling was issued by the Spanish judiciary to hand over the looted artifacts to the Egyptian authorities.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm