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Centuries-old Egyptian Mummy, Artefacts Unearthed

The ancient Egyptian ‘necropolis’ — literally meaning “city of the dead” — had long remained a mystery until 1927, when an antiquities inspector first discovered it

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The Mummy Museum
The Mummy Museum. wikimedia

A centuries-old Egyptian high priest’s mummy and ancient artefacts were discovered on Monday from a remote burial site in Al-Ghorifa, some 165 miles south of Egyptian capital Cairo.

The site was discovered by explorer Josh Gates and renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who hosted the live broadcast of the reveal on Discovery Channel in the two-hour programme “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live”.

The broadcast showed the opening of a sealed sarcophagus (stone coffin), which contained the mummy of an exquisitely preserved 2,500-year-old high priest, covered from top to bottom in gold banding and other artifacts.

It also revealed two other mummies, one of them inside a more than 2,500-year-old ‘Family Tomb’, the final resting place of a family. The tomb also included unique objects like an ancient Egyptian board game, remains of a dog and four canopic jars used to store a mummy’s organs.

“While the second mummy was not of a high priest or fully preserved, the objects inside the tomb and inscriptions on his sarcophagus reveal that he was a singer in the temple of Thoth, an Egyptian god,” a statement by Discovery said.

Artifacts
Ancient mummified hand recovered during ICE HSI’s Operation Mummy’s Hand. (Courtesy: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). VOA

A mysterious wax head of a high priest was also found in the excavation.

Gates, following the broadcast, said: “There aren’t many who have gone down into unexplored ancient tombs. We were able to document spectacular artefacts and mummies and bring viewers along in real time. It was the thrill of a lifetime.”

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“The programme was seen by millions of people. We are sending an important message that Egypt is safe and we invite tourists to come,” Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, said in a statement.

The ancient Egyptian ‘necropolis’ — literally meaning “city of the dead” — had long remained a mystery until 1927, when an antiquities inspector first discovered it. (IANS)

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U.N. Urges Egypt To Halt All Executions Based On Confessions Obtained Against Torture

“There is significant cause for concern that due process and fair trial guarantees may not have been followed in some or all of these cases, and that the very serious allegations concerning the use of torture were not properly investigated,” Colville said.

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Egypt
Family members of those convicted and executed for the killing of public prosecutor Hisham Barakat gather at Zynhom morgue in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 20, 2019, as they wait for their bodies to be released. VOA

The U.N. Human Rights Office is urging Egypt to halt all executions and to conduct investigations into all allegations that people are subjected to the death penalty based on confessions obtained under torture.

Egypt has executed 15 people in February and the U.N. Human Rights Office notes the month is not yet over. The agency reports nine people were executed this week in a case related to the killing of Egypt’s General Prosecutor, Hisham Barakat.

Regarding six other killings earlier this month, it says three men were convicted of assassinating a police officer and three others in connection with the murder of the son of a judge.

Human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville said in all cases the defendants have told the court they were subjected to torture to make them confess to the crimes of which they were accused.

FILE - A defendant is seen caged in a courtroom in Torah prison, southern Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 22, 2015.
A defendant is seen caged in a courtroom in Torah prison, southern Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 22, 2015. VOA

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In June 2017, the U.N. Committee against Torture completed a four-year confidential inquiry and concluded that torture is “practiced systematically” in Egypt. Colville told VOA the recent allegations of torture, in almost all of these cases, come against this well-established backdrop that torture is endemic in Egypt.

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“If torture was used to make a confession a considerable part of the prosecution’s case, then that should not be admitted in court. That confession produced under torture should not be admissible. And when these allegations have been brought up by the defense lawyers and so on, our belief is they are not being taken seriously enough by the courts,” he said.

Colville said a number of individuals convicted under similar circumstances in Egypt have exhausted all legal proceedings. He says they currently are on death row at imminent risk of execution. (VOA)