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|Egypt's Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass Cleared in Appeal, Avoids One Year in Prison|
Egyptian minister of state for antiquities Zahi Hawass tours with journalists the site of the New Kingdom Cemetery containing the famous tomb of Maya, the treasurer of King Tut and the tomb of Horemheb, the general of King Tut who later became king, in south Saqqara, Egypt. AP Photo/Nasser Nasser.
CAIRO (AP).- An appeals court cleared Egypt's antiquities minister on Wednesday of failing to implement a court order, sparing the international face of Egyptian archaeology from a year in prison.
The earlier ruling had ordered Zahi Hawass to stop bidding procedures for space in a gift shop of The Egyptian Museum, which is home to treasures like Tutankhamun's gold funerary mask. He failed to comply and was sentenced to a year in prison.
Besides the legal challenge, Hawass has found himself at the center of other trouble since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February.
Critics accused Hawass of being too close to Mubarak, who elevated the antiquities chief to the position of a Cabinet minister shortly before his ouster in a popular uprising.
Archaeology graduates also held protests accusing Hawass of corruption and seeking publicity for himself.
Most troubling for Egypt's heritage, many antiquities sites have been looted by criminals amid the country's political upheaval.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
June 17, 2011
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