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UPDATED: 09:26, June 08, 2006
Cairo court sentences seven antiquity smugglers to different terms in prison
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The criminal court of the Egyptian capital Cairo on Wednesday sentenced seven of a 12-member antiquity-smuggling ring to different terms in prison, the official MENA news agency reported.

The other five members were acquitted by the court.

According to the report, the court reached its verdict during the retrial session and sentenced Tarek el-Sweisi, the leader of the antiquity-smuggling ring, to 13 years in prison, plus a fine of 60,000 Egyptian pounds (about 10,434 U.S. dollars).

Six other defendants received sentences ranging from one year's suspended sentence to ten years imprisonment, some of them also received fines.

The sentence came after the Appeal's Court rejected a previous verdict sentencing el-Sweisi to 35 years in prison and the other suspects to various terms ranging from one to 15 years imprisonment.

The 12 suspects were handed over by Egypt's Supreme State Security Prosecution to trial over smuggling about 300 rare Egyptian antiquities to Switzerland after the Swiss authorities informed Egypt of smuggling activities.

As a country rich in cultural relics, Egypt has stepped up efforts in recent years to stop smuggling of its antiquities.

Source: Xinhua

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