Seized cultural artefacts handed over to Egypt

Switzerland provides legal assistance

Press Release, FOJ, 28.11.2003

Bern, 28.11.2003. More than 200 Egyptian cultural artefacts that were taken into custody in the Geneva duty free warehouse at the end of August are returning to Egypt to be used in evidence. The handover took place in Geneva today between representatives of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) and the Egyptian authorities.

In the late summer, the investigating judge in Geneva secured more than 200 archaeological artefacts – specifically statues, masks, sarcophagi and two mummies – in the Geneva duty free warehouse in connection with criminal proceedings on the grounds of theft, receiving stolen property and fraud. At the request of the Geneva authorities, the FOJ sent the Egyptian authorities photographs of the objects held at the warehouse. Under the terms of the Federal Act on International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, evidence can be supplied unrequested to foreign prosecuting authorities in order to assist with a pending criminal investigation.

Egyptian proceedings on grounds of illegal excavations

At the beginning of September, the Egyptian Embassy in Bern submitted a request for legal assistance to the Federal Office of Justice. The Egyptian chief public prosecutor's office is conducting criminal investigations into a number of persons who are thought to have carried out illegal excavations at several archaeological sites, taken possession of countless archaeological artefacts and then subsequently sold or exported them. Ruling in favour of the request, the FOJ stated that the provision of legal assistance is permissible and ordered the goods to be secured and documents relating to their purchase and import to be collected. In early October, in accordance with the Egyptian request for legal assistance, the FOJ ordered the handover of the seized cultural artefacts to be used in evidence in the Egyptian criminal proceedings. The handover of archaeological artefacts is based on the mutual assistance treaty between Switzerland and Egypt that came into force on 23 September 2002. The FOJ's final ruling was not contested and is now legally enforceable.

Mummy 1
Mummy 1
Mummy 2
Mummy 2
Mummy 3
Mummy 3
Mummy 4
Mummy 4
Archaeological artefacts
Archaeological artefacts
Mask 1
Mask 1
Mask 2
Mask 2

Further information

Note

For the complete documentation see the pages in German, French or Italian.

Documents

For the complete documentation see the pages in German, French or Italian

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