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Government antiquities body launches smear campaign against researcher

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the repression being perpetrated by Zahi Hawass, the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, against researcher Ahmed Saleh as the latter has presented scientific theories that differ from those of Hawass and, as a result, has been subjected to dozens of investigations. Saleh is now busy defending himself against the campaign launched against him by Hawass. The legal support unit at ANHRI decided to adopt Saleh's case and support him in the face of this injustice.

Saleh was alarmed over a series of investigations and announcements by Hawass in newspapers that the researcher felt were intended to undermine and ridicule him. He had previously proposed a different approach with respect to how to deal with certain Egyptian antiquities, especially the mummy of King Tut, among other issues, as he is a mummification specialist and has a Master's degree in Egyptian antiquities.

However, according to Saleh, Hawass launched a media campaign against him and he was subjected to 42 separate investigations, thus turning his life into a nightmare. It seems that Hawass could not accept a subordinate who was more knowledgeable, even if the researcher's theories are proven to be correct and beneficial to Egyptian antiquities research.

Hamdy Al Assiouty, a counselor in ANHRI's legal support unit, said, "We are confronted with a unique case, not pertaining to professional jealousy between manager and staff, but to inhibiting scientific views, freedom of scientific research and the cherishing of a part of Egypt's history. For all of the reasons previously mentioned, we decided to defend Saleh and support his right to express scientific propositions that may prove to be of public interest."

Saleh, the manager of the Mit Rahina antiquities zone, holds a Master's degree from Manchester University in England. He is one of the rare and reliable experts whose opinions should be appreciated, and is considered to serve the noble cause of cherishing Egypt's heritage. Currently Saleh is being deprived of promotions and cannot attend international antiquities exhibitions, in addition to suffering salary deductions.

The Administrative Court is currently reviewing Saleh's case against the Supreme Council of Antiquities headed by Hawass.

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