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[casi] Stolen antiquities

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It seems to me it wouldn't be beyond the wit of the US and British military
to devise their own checking system on those leaving the country they seem
pretty quick to set up road blocks, so they could set some up on the roads
out. Trouble is, on second thoughts, it might be foxes and henhouses, would
that which was found be returned to museums for safekeeping, or to the
palaces they are inhabiting for shipment home - especially since the general
message has been 'carry on looting' even from Geoffrey Hoon (Telegraph, 6th
April.) It is regrettable that Jordan is not charging those with removing
items from Iraq with theft though.

Jordan Times 15th May 2003

Customs stymies statue smugglers

€ Scofflaws continue to steal from Iraq
By Khalid Dalal
AMMAN ‹ The Customs Department stymied the smuggling of some statues and
other century-old Iraqi artefacts at the eastern border post of Karama, a
senior department official said.
łThe attempt was stopped [yesterday] afternoon when a number of journalists
attempted to cross the border on their way to Amman. They were carrying with
them statues that date back more than 100 years,˛ said Department Director
General Mahmoud Qteishat.
Other items included a stamp album dating back to the 1950s and a wooden box
that was believed to be more than a century old, he added.
Since Iraq fell, Qteishat explained, customs officials at the
Jordanian-Iraqi border have tightened inspection measures to stop any
attempt to smuggle items stolen from Iraqi museums.
łAlmost everyday, our officials catch something,˛ he said, adding that all
the confiscated items are being kept in the Kingdom until a new government
is formed in Iraq. łThen, the items will go back to their original country,˛
said Qteishat.
Tightening procedures at the border came as part of a general call to all
personnel manning Jordanian air, land and sea outlets to keep a watchful eye
for any attempts to smuggle Iraqi antiquities and manuscripts that were
looted in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam's regime last month.
An expert in antiquities has been assigned to examine all suspected items at
the border with Iraq, according to the official.
In early May, a family album of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was
amongst the booty seized by custom officers. On April 19, customs officials
confiscated 42 paintings stolen from Iraq's National Museum.
In cooperation with the Antiquities Department, Qteishat said his department
would continue applying its thorough inspections at all borders to stop
attempts to smuggle Iraq's priceless treasures into, or out of, the Kingdom.
UNESCO has urged all countries surrounding Jordan's war-torn neighbour as
well as other international bodies concerned with the matter to do their
utmost to protect Iraq's archaeological treasures.
Thursday, May 15, 2003

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