ALGIERS- Minister of Culture Khalida Toumi will head to Tunis on 6 April at the invitation of his Tunisian counterpart, Mourad Sakli to bring back the Mask of Gorgon, a rare archaeological piece stolen in Algeria in 1996 and found in Tunisia in 2011, said a Ministry’s statement.
The restitution of the Mask Gorgon will take place on April 7 after “legal and administrative procedures” undertaken by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Directorate General of National Police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, the source said.
The restitution was made possible thanks to the huge efforts of the Ministry of Culture as part of the fight against the illicit trade in cultural propertyin accordance with the law 98-04 relating to the protection of cultural heritage and the UNESCO Convention of 1970.
For his part Tunisia’s Culture minister said Saturday that “all legal procedures” were completed to restore to Algeria the Mask of Gorgon, which belongs to the Algerian people.
The Tunisian government promised, on 8 February at the end of the 19th session of Algeria-Tunisia High Joint Commission, to restore to Algeria this “archaeological treasure.”
The Mask of Gorgon was stolen in 1996 from Annaba (600-km east of Algiers) and found in 2011 in Sakhr El Matri’s, son-in-law of the deposed Tunisian President Zin Al-Abidin Ben Ali. (APS)