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Egypt’s Archaeology Chief Zahi Hawass to Appeal Jail Term

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s minister of state for antiquities, said he will appeal a one-year jail sentence imposed on him yesterday.

The sentence is related to a lawsuit accusing him of refusing to carry out a court ruling, the state-run Middle East News Agency said today. The court had ordered a halt to bidding from companies to run a bookstore in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Hawass said today in his blog.

“Tomorrow, the head of the legal affairs department at the Ministry of Antiquities will go to the court to file our appeal,” Hawass said in the Web log. “He will present evidence that the bid for the bookstore contract was finished before the original court ruling, so therefore we could not follow the ruling to stop the bidding.”

Egyptian archeologists including Hawass appealed to the government in March to protect the country’s tombs and storehouses from looting following the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. As well as the theft of artifacts from the Egyptian Museum, storage areas were broken into, including one belonging to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s archaeological expedition in Dahshur, Hawass said on March 3.

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