Swiss seize 9 relics allegedly stolen from Libya, Palmyra

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2016 11:44 AM

GENEVA (AP) — The Geneva prosecutor's office has confiscated nine cultural artifacts including a sculpted head of Aphrodite and two bas-reliefs that were allegedly stolen from Yemen, Libya and the site of ancient Palmyra in Syria.

The relics had been placed in the Geneva Free Ports, a special duty-free zone for storage, in 2009 and 2010, before the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and the later emergence of the radical Islamic State group.

The prosecutor's office said Friday that a customs check in 2013 raised suspicions that the relics had been stolen, prompting a look by cultural experts and later a criminal probe.

It says the Aphrodite head from Libya dates from before the 1st century B.C. and the bas-reliefs were from before the 3rd century in Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site later damaged by IS.