museum theft.jpgAn Egyptian court has found 11 culture ministry employees guilty of negligence, after the theft of a Van Gogh painting from a Cairo museum.

 

The officials include Deputy Culture Minister Mohsen Shalan, and the museum’s director.

 

They have been sentenced to three years in jail but each given bail of about US$1,750 pending an appeal.

 

The Van Gogh painting was stolen in broad daylight from the Mahmud Khalil museum on 21 August.

 

The work – known as both “Poppy Flowers” and “Vase and Flowers” – was cut out of its frame.

 

It is valued at more than US$50m.

 

The investigation found that none of the museum’s alarms and only seven of 43 security cameras were working.

In addition, the museum had reduced its security personnel, meaning that often there was only one guard on duty.

 

During the course of the trial, a number of museum officials said they had known about security problems but they were given no budget to improve things.