Five years for German, Egyptian officials for damaging Great Pyramids

Three Germans and six Egyptians accused of damaging the Great Pyramid in Giza have been sentenced to five years imprisonment, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Wednesday.

Prosecutors accused Dominique Goerlitz and two associates of entering a chamber in the pyramid that was not open to the public and removed paint and rock samples without authorization.

The three Germans were sentenced in absentia, having left Egypt after the events at the centre of the case. Germany has no extradition treaty with Egypt.

The Egyptian defendants included three Antiquities Ministry inspectors, two guards at the site and the director of a tourism company, all of whom were accused of facilitating Goerlitz’s actions.

Goerlitz, 47, who describes himself as an independent “experimental archaeologist,” has not denied taking the samples.

He previously said that “it has never been logically clarified how Bronze Age people 4,600 years ago” could have built the pyramid.

Prosecutors said the German defendants “with the aim of harming [Egyptian] national interests … disseminated false reports” that the ancient Egyptians could not have built the pyramids.

In August, the samples were retrieved from the German defendants and handed over to the Egyptian embassy in Berlin, according to Egyptian media reports.

A schoolteacher by training, Goerlitz in 2007 attempted to prove that a type of reed boat used 6,000 years ago could cross the Atlantic. His vessel, the Abora III, sank after 2,400 nautical miles and 56 days at sea.

The Egyptian defendants may appeal the verdict, while the Germans will be entitled to a retrial if they are taken into Egyptian custody.

The court also referred former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass to prosecutors over evidence in the case suggesting he might have contravened the antiquities law, the report said without further specifying.

Source : Sapa-dpa /gq

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