Yemen starts trials of artifacts smugglers

The general prosecutor urged the court to imprison the manager for smuggling national relics

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Yemen has started trials of a British national and a gang headed by a Syrian escapee accused of stealing, smuggling and selling ancient artefacts, Al Arabiya News Channel reported Monday.

Raginder Singh Freddy from the UK, who was accused of smuggling, was arrested by Yemeni authorities in mid-January. They found small statues and stones with ancient south Arabian alphabet scribbles.

Freddy worked as a finance manager in a privately-owned Yemeni oil company.

The general prosecutor urged the court to imprison him for smuggling the country’s national relics and buying nine artefacts from Yemenis.

The trial of a gang, which has government employees as members, also began Monday.

Headed by a Syrian national who is currently an escapee, the ring was operated by Yemenis working for anti-smuggling authorities, as well as security forces and Sanaa airport employees.

They stole and sold ancient swords and rare Quranic texts from the national museum last year.

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