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WorldEgypt can demand return of King Tut statue up for auction: Former antiquities chief

08:01  10 june  2019
08:01  10 june  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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Egypt has the right to demand the repatriation of a stone sculpture of King Tutankhamun before it goes up for auction next month, according Zahi Hawass, a renowned Egyptian archaeologist, has spearheaded numerous campaigns to repatriate Egyptian artifacts, and alleges the statue was stolen.

Egypt has the right to demand the repatriation of a stone sculpture of King Tutankhamun before it goes up for auction at Christie’s in London next month, according to the country’s former antiquities chief , according to the ABC News.

Egypt can demand return of King Tut statue up for auction: Former antiquities chief© AP Photo/Amr Nabil In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, file photo, tourists look at the tomb of King Tut as it is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

Egypt has the right to demand the repatriation of a stone sculpture of King Tutankhamun before it goes up for auction at Christie's in London next month, according to the country’s former antiquities chief.

Zahi Hawass, a renowned Egyptian archaeologist, has spearheaded numerous campaigns to repatriate Egyptian artifacts, and alleges the statue was stolen.

"It seems that this sculpture was looted from [Luxor's] Karnak Temple. Christie's would not have any proof whatsoever of its ownership,” Hawass told ABC News.

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Egypt ’s demands to have the auction canceled and the statue returned to its own prized collection of artifacts from Tutankhamen’s tomb come as the country is trying to Sign up for Boston.com's e-mail alerts and receive coronavirus news and breaking updates, from our newsroom to your inbox.

Egypt is going to sue Christie's London for the return of a 3,000-year-old King Tut sculpture that recently sold at auction for million. The effort to return the ancient artwork to Egypt is being led by the country’s antiquities minister, Khaled el-Enany. “They left us with no other option but to go to

Christie’s did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

(MORE: After a 10-year makeover, King Tut's tomb is back, in living color and ready for its close-up)

A 3,000-year-old bust of the famous boy king, who ruled Egypt from 1332–1323 B.C., is scheduled to be sold on July 4.

The quartzite statue, which portrays the boy king as Amun, the ancient Egyptian god of the sun and air, could generate at least 4 million pounds (more than $5 million), according to the auction house. Christie's is in contact with Egyptian authorities over the sale, the Financial Times reported.

The Egyptian Ministry of State Antiquities has launched an investigation into the planned sale to take "the required legal measures in coordination with the foreign ministry,” Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, head of the repatriation department, said in a statement last week.

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Egypt is attempting to halt the auction of a 3,000-year-old statue of King Tutankhamun at auction house Christie’s in London. In a statement late on Saturday, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that it had demanded the The Egyptian Embassy in London has contacted the British Foreign Office and the auction house to Egypt has asked for the return of the statue , according to a Facebook post.

Egyptian authorities denounced Christie’s for going ahead with the sale. But the auction house says it was They claimed the sale is not valid because the auction house has not been able to verify the “There is no ethics here at all,” said Zahi Hawass, Egypt ’s former minister of antiquities affairs, in a

"If it's proven that any piece has been illegally moved out of the country, we will take a legal action with the Interpol,” he wrote. “We will never allow anyone to sell any ancient Egyptian artifact."

The statue is expected to be sold by a private collector, and is part of what is known as the Resandro Collection, according to the Financial Times.

Egypt introduced a law in 1983 to regulate the ownership of Egyptian antiquities, saying any ancient artifacts discovered in the country are considered state properties "with the exception of antiquities whose ownership or possession was already established at the time this law came into effect."

Hawass believes that regardless of any laws, Egypt has an "ethical right" to recover the Tutankhamun bust.

(MORE: King Tut's dagger was made from a meteorite, researchers say)

"This piece was smuggled out of the country and Christie's cannot prove otherwise. It's totally Egypt's right," he said.

To mark the centenary of Tutankhamun's tomb discovery, Egypt embarked on a world tour of 150 King Tut artifacts earlier this year, which includes 60 pieces that have never left the country.

The exhibition kicked off in Paris in March and will move to locations around the world including London, California and Sydney until 2021.

A museum to house those artifacts and many others, the Grand Egyptian Museum, located near the Giza Pyramids, is currently under construction.

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