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‘Stolen from Karnak’: Egypt asks Interpol to trace Tutankhamun mask over ownership docs

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King Tutankhamun sculpture

Egypt has asked international police agency Interpol to track down a 3,000-year-old Tutankhamun artefact that was sold in London for $6 million despite fierce opposition from Cairo, government officials said.

Christie’s auction house sold the 28.5-centimeter (11-inch) relic for £4,746,250 ($5,970,000, 5,290,000 euros) to an unknown buyer in early July at one of its most controversial auctions in years.

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But less than a week after the sale, Egypt’s National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation (NCAR) said after an urgent meeting that national prosecutors had asked Interpol “to issue a circular to trace” such artefacts over alleged missing paperwork.

“The committee expresses its deep discontent of the unprofessional behavior of the sale of Egyptian antiquities without providing the ownership documents and the evidences that prove its legal export from Egypt,” the NCAR said in a statement.

The committee — headed by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and attended by his predecessor Zahi Hawass as well as officials from various ministries — also called upon Britain to “prohibit the export of the sold artefacts” until the Egyptian authorities were shown the documents.

It suggested the issue could have an impact on cultural relations, by referencing “the ongoing cooperation between both countries in the field of archaeology, especially that there are 18 British archaeological missions are working in Egypt”.

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The NCAR added it had hired a British law firm to file a “civil lawsuit” although no further details were given.

– ‘Stolen from Karnak’ –

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The London sale of the head of “Boy King” Tutankhamun angered Egyptian officials at the time and sparked a protest outside Christie’s by about a dozen people who held up signs reading “stop trading in smuggled antiquities”.

Hawass told AFP that the piece appeared to have been “stolen” in the 1970s from the Karnak Temple complex just north of Luxor and the Egyptian foreign ministry asked the UK Foreign Office and the UN cultural body UNESCO to step in and halt the sale.

But such interventions are rare and made only when there is clear evidence of the item’s legitimate acquisition by the seller being in dispute.

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Christie’s argued that Egypt had never before expressed the same level of concern about an item whose existence has been “well known and exhibited publicly” for many years.

“The object is not, and has not been, the subject of an investigation,” Christie’s said in a statement to AFP.

The auction house has published a chronology of how the relic changed hands between European art dealers over the past 50 years and told AFP that it would “not sell any work where there isn’t clear title of ownership”.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Mental midget’ Stephen Miller absolutely demolished in MSNBC blast at Trump’s ‘misfit’ advisers

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Given the opportunity to discuss two profiles on White House adviser Stephen Miller -- published by the Washington Post and the New York Times late Saturday -- Democratic consultant Don Calloway jumped in with both feet to trash the man he called a "mental midget"."

Asked p on MSNBC about the controversial Miller's outsized influence on Donald Trump, Calloway didn't hold back.

"What goes through your head when you hear how much influence Stephen Miller has on immigration policy?" host Alex Witt asked.

"Stephen Miller is a mental midget, that's the best thing I can say," Calloway began to the sounds of laughter offscreen.

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Black woman reveals how Trump is ruining her marriage: ‘My white Republican husband is starting to hate me’

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A black woman revealed over the weekend how President Donald Trump and right-wing media are straining her marriage.

In a Twitter rant on Saturday, a woman going by the name Glass Butterfly hit a nerve by starting a discussion about the challenges of interracial marriage in the age of Trump.

"My white Republican husband is starting to hate me because the longer we live through this administration the 'BLACKER' I become," she revealed. "Any interracially and opposing politically affiliated couples going through this? Like...I have NO idea how to balance who we are..or are becoming."

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Lawmaker Rashida Tlaib calls for boycott of Bill Maher’s ‘Real Time’ over Israel comments

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., suggested a boycott against HBO host Bill Maher after he denounced the international movement to boycott Israel as a "bullshit purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class."

This article first appeared on Salon.

"Maybe folks should boycott his show," Tlaib wrote in a tweet on Saturday. "I am tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom. This is exactly how they tried to discredit & stop the boycott to stand up against the apartheid in S. Africa. It didn't work then and it won't now."

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