Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Should the Shultz Conviction Be Vacated?

In order to convict Fred Shultz of theft of Egyptian cultural property, the Government put on testimony that Egyptian Law 117 of 1983 unequivocally asserted state ownership of all antiquities and that private ownership, possession and disposal of such antiquities was prohibited.  See United States v. Shultz, 178 F. Supp. 2d 445 (S.D.N.Y. 2002).

Now that the Mubarak regime has fallen, however, an Egyptian academic has asserted that  Mubarak, along with his predecessors, gave antiquities from the Egyptian museum away as gifts.  Arguably then, because Fred Shultz's conviction was based on incomplete-- if not false testimony-- from Egyptian officials, in the interests of justice it should be vacated.

Interestingly, while Egyptian cultural authorities deny artifacts were gifted by President Mubarak, they do admit that antiquities were gifted before that time.

If so, shouldn't this news also support the dismissal of the Government's case against SLAM because it indeed shows the possibility that artifacts owned by the Egyptian government were gifted in the past?

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