Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)
The saga of the 80 objects began in April 2010 when the customs unit at Brussels airport caught an Egyptian woman red-handed as she tried to smuggle 80 small genuine objects. She had concealed them inside two large wooden replica statues and shipped them to the Belgian capital.
Belgian police confiscated the artefacts and called the Brussels National Museum to check their authenticity. Once the items were proved to be genuine ancient Egyptian items, the museum took the routine measure of sending the case to the Brussels court.
With the collaboration of the Egyptian Embassy in Brussels Egypt was able to prove its ownership of the confiscated collection and won a court ruling to have them restituted. The director of the returned antiquities section at the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA), Osama El-Nahhas, said the objects would return to Egypt within days. They include 11 small wooden and limestone statuettes, 11 amulets and 27 scarabs from the ancient Egyptian era; Islamic cylindrical seals; a Coptic child's robe and a small decorated piece of textile; a lion-shaped Ptolemaic pot and a prehistoric clay pot.