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How Egypt plans to crack down on antiquities theft

Archaeologists and others say that changes to Egypt's antiquities law, if applied properly, will reduce the theft of artifacts and also make the lives of tourists more hassle-free.
Egyptian antiquities workers are seen in a recently discovered tomb of Userhat, a judge from the New Kingdom at the Dra Abu-el Naga necropolis near the Nile city of Luxor, south of Cairo, Egypt April 18, 2017. REUTERS/ Mohamed Zaki - RTS12SLV

On May 3, Egypt's Cabinet approved amendments to the country’s antiquities law. The changes were highly praised by decision-makers and archaeologists in a country that has been suffering a rise in antiquities thefts and illegal digging for artifacts following the 2011 revolution.

The amendments include raising the maximum sentence from seven years to life imprisonment for the illegal trade in, possession of and digging of antiquities. An addition to the law also imposes fines for harassing tourists at archaeological sites; such fines range from 3,000 to 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($165 to $550).

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