US returns 77 stolen antiquities back to Yemen

US returns 77 stolen antiquities back to Yemen

US returns 77 stolen antiquities back to Yemen

The United States has returned 77 looted antiquities to Yemen, U.S. authorities said on Feb. 21, adding the objects would be housed “temporarily” in a museum in Washington in line with an agreement with the war-torn country’s government.

The pieces are “64 relief carved stone heads, 11 Quran manuscript pages, a bronze inscribed bowl, and a Funerary Stele” from Minaean tribal cultures in northwest Yemen’s highlands dating back to the 1st century B.C., Breon Peace, the district attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

The announcement was made jointly by the prosecutor’s office, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Smithsonian Institution, which includes nearly 20 museums in the United States.

New York state’s justice department has been carrying out a vast campaign for several years to restore antiquities looted around the world and which have ended up in museums and galleries in the metropolis.

Between 2020 and 2021, at least 700 pieces were returned to 14 countries, including Cambodia, Egypt, Greece, India, Iraq, Italy and Pakistan.

The 64 carved stone heads had been confiscated in the United States as part of a 2012 plea bargain from an antiquities smuggler named Mousa Khouli, also known as “Morris” Khouli, the DA’s statement said.

The antiquities were imported into the U.S. from Dubai using false documentation.


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