CAIRO (AFP) – A senior culture ministry official and the head of a Cairo museum from which a Van Gogh painting was stolen will stand trial on charges of negligence, a judicial source said on Monday.
The trial of Mohsen Shaalan, the head of the ministry’s fine arts sector, and Reem Bahir, director of the Mahmoud Khalil museum, will open on September 14 after a probe showed they failed to secure the building, the source said.
Bahir’s deputy, seven museum guards and another culture ministry official will also face trial, the source added.
Vincent Van Gogh’s “Poppy Flowers”, also known as “Vase with Flowers,” was stolen last month in a brazen daytime heist that left Egyptian authorities red-faced.
The Dutch masterpiece, which is valued at more than 50 million dollars, was cut out of its frame.
The prosecutor’s investigation found that the museum had reduced the number of guards and that most of the surveillance cameras were not working.
Public prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmud has said that each painting in the museum, which also has works by Monet and Renoir, had an alarm but that none of them worked.
The painting, of yellow and red flowers in a vase, had been stolen before in 1977, but was recovered the following year.