An Egyptian court of appeals on Thursday began hearings to reverse the decision to imprison ministry of culture officials accused of permitting the theft of the Van Gogh painting "Poppy Flowers" in August.
The Dokki Misdemeanors Court previously sentenced Ministry of Culture First Undersecretary Mohsen Shaalan and 10 other ministry employees with three years imprisonment and an LE10,000 bail each in October.
During the first appeal hearing, the Misdemeanors Appeals Court in Dokki set 6 January as the date for the following hearing, in order to allow lawyers sufficient time to prepare arguments.
Van Gogh's painting "Poppy Flowers" was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Dokki. The painting has an estimated value of roughly US$55 million.
During an inspection of the museum in the wake of the theft, Egypt's Attorney General found that only seven of the museum's 43 electronic surveillance camera's were operational. The inspection also revealed the anti-theft alarms installed on all of the museum's paintings were broken.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.