Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hawass Found Innocent of Charges

Story at  It's not exactly clear if Hawass appealed his sentence regarding the bookstore incident and the charges were kicked out on appeal, or if the "charges" against him were something else. 

Egypt’s Zahi Hawass found innocent
Jun 16th, 2011 | By Bikya Masr Staff |

CAIRO: An Egyptian court ruled on Wednesday that Egypt’s firebrand Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass is innocent of charges against him. The minister is currently in the United States on a speaking tour.

“Today is a very special day for me. The MSA, and myself personally, will always hold the laws of Egypt in the highest regard,” Hawass wrote on his personal blog.

“The MSA, and myself personally, have always held the laws of Egypt and the ruling of our courts in the highest regard and we will continue to do so,” he continued.

In April, Hawass was sentenced to one-year in jail n a dispute over a bookstore at the Egyptian Museum.

He was also fined by the court 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,650) in damages at the time.

He had served as the Supreme Council of Antiquities chief until last month, when he was appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak as antiquities minister in the newly established ministry. [This happened before May, 2011! Dr. Hawass was reappointed to his position of Antiquities Minister, from which he had been discharged by the interim government after the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, on March 30, 2011, by the same interim government that had discharged him originally.]

Hawass has been under fire from a number of sides in recent years including from rights groups who accuse the man of dictatorial polices concerning debate and scientific findings. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called out Hawass in 2009 for allegedly pushing aside a researcher for stating views that differed from the SCA Secretary-General’s, which led to dozens of investigations.

Ironically, on his recent tour he has touted the Egyptian revolution to crowds, saying he was “pleased” with the support Americans are giving Egypt.

Ahmed Saleh, the researcher in question, told ANHRI that he was “alarmed” with a series of investigations and announcements from Hawass in newspapers’ that the researcher felt were undermining and ridiculing his work. According to ANHRI, the researcher proposed a new approach on how to deal with “some Egyptian antiquities, especially the mummy of King Tut.”

Hawass is known for his cheerful spirit, and a closet full of cowboy hats he passes to foreign dignitaries as they come through Egypt. He even gave American President Barack Obama one of those hats.

Despite his jolly spirit, archaeologists, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of permits to dig in the country, which all go through Hawass, tell Bikya Masr a different, behind-the-scenes reality.

“He has a huge temper,” began one archaeologist. “If you don’t agree with him, he simply screams at you and threatens to remove your funding.”

Other reports show that he takes advantage of those needing internships with the SCA. He takes on American students, promises them adequate salaries, and then refuses to pay, a number of former interns told Bikya Masr.

“He is paid thousands of dollars for each appearance he makes for the Discovery Channel and every time he writes or appears anywhere. The man makes so much money that it is no wonder he tries to curtail other opinions,” an Egyptian researcher told Bikya Masr. The researcher, who works for the SCA, says that “everyone in the council knows what goes on, but he is the boss and his rules go, so there is little we can do.”

It is also well known, archaeologists say, that he takes bribes in order to give permits. “And he is big on cronyism and sexual favors,” another American researcher said, adding that “it is well-known in the community that he gives key positions to women for specific reasons.” This has been supported by a number of archaeologists, who added that on trips to New York, “he has often been seen with call girls and escorts.”


That old devil! A womanizer. Who'd have guessed, tsk tsk.  As bad as the French dude who is up on rape charges in New York City - same fraternity.  Do they teach this stuff to Mediterranean men in the cradle? 

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