An Egyptian court of appeals on Thursday postponed hearings to reverse the decision to imprison Deputy Culture Minister Mohsen Shaalan, and 10 other Ministry of Culture officials accused of permitting the theft of the Van Gogh painting "Poppy Flowers".
The Dokki Misdemeanors Court previously sentenced Ministry of Culture First Undersecretary Mohsen Shaalan and 10 other ministry employees in October to three years imprisonment with bail of LE10,000 each.
On Thursday, the Misdemeanors Appeals Court in Dokki set 13 January as the date for the hearing, in order to allow sufficient time to attach a copy of the findings missing from the investigation’s case file.
Shaalan’s defense attorney entered a plea of not guilty to all charges against his client. Shaalan faces charges of negligence and professional delinquency.
Van Gogh's painting, "Poppy Flowers," was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Dokki. The painting has an estimated value of roughly US$55 million.
During a museum inspection in the wake of the theft, Egypt's Attorney General found that only seven of the museum's 43 electronic surveillance cameras were operational. The inspection also revealed that anti-theft alarms installed on the museum's paintings were broken.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.