""The marketing and circulation of the antiquities, "is a clear violation that brings offenders to book as per the penal code, he said. "This act is an infringement on property and human cultural heritage protected by international laws and norms,"" Rashid Bu Rasheed, Director of Criminal Investigation Department, Abu Dhabi Police
|Photo Credit : Gulf news|
Via the the state-run WAM news agency Brigadier General Dr. Rashid Bu Rasheed, Director of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Abu Dhabi Police has confirmed that law enforcement officials have foiled an attempt to smuggle illicit objects into the Gulf country.
Authorities have detained three foreign suspects who shad arrived in the capital of the United Arab Emirates having smuggled ancient coins, daggers and manuscripts into the country with the intent to sell them.
The nationalities of the smugglers has not been released. For the present, the objects will remain with the UAE authorities for security and pending further review. No further information has been released at present as to if these objects originate from current areas of conflict.
Stolen artefacts largely move from poor course countries to rich market countries. Smugglers often buy antiquities from looters within their network before selling them on knowingly and unknowingly to dealers and collectors
The antiquities markets in Gulf States such as the UAE are known transit and terminus points for illicit antiquities. Fakes and forgeries of coins and artworks also pop up frequently via well known dealers operating within the country.
One example of a previous illicit antiquities seizure in the AUE is outlined on Paul Barford's 2010 report excerpted here:
"In November 2008, Dubai Customs found 128 items of Iraqi origin, including pottery, jewellery and coins, behind a false wall that are now believed to have originated in Iran. The objects discovered by the authorities are however just “the tip of the iceberg”, according to Dr Mark Beech, of the Historic Environment Department at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH).
Tens of thousands of precious artefacts looted from Iraq are circulating on a clandestine world market, smuggled out of the war-ravaged country and into the hands of private collectors in Europe and the US. “With the UAE such a hub for international trade and travel in the region, it’s inevitable that such items will pass through here,” he said.
A sampling of similar incidents of importing or exporting of illicit antiquities via the UAE can be found below.