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Egypt to get back pharaoh’s eye

A huge eye stolen from the statue of a pharaoh, currently on show in a Swiss museum, is to be returned to Egypt.

It will go back in October with no conditions attached, Zahi Hawass of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Wednesday.

The eye, nearly 50 cm long, was stolen in 1972. It came from a statue of Amenhotep III discovered in a temple in Luxor in 1970.

The thieves sold it to a US dealer. After then being sold at auction, it ended up in the hands of a Swiss collector who bought it “in good faith”.

For the past few years it has been on show at Basel’s Museum of Antiquities. It was recognised by Hawass when he visited the museum in 2004 in connection with an exhibition on Tutankhamun.

Hawass asked for it back and negotiations were conducted with the collector. The Federal Culture Office was not involved.

Amenhotep III ruled Egypt in the 14th century BC. More statues survive of him than of any other pharaoh.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR