Ethiopia: Chinese smugglers risk 10 years in prison

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Two Chinese citizens who were apprehended by the Ethiopian Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) as they tried to smuggle rare Ethiopian artifacts out of the country could face up to ten years in the country’s prison.

The two Chinese nationals were apprehended as they attempted to pass the illegal objects through customs security check at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

The objects, described as “ornamental artifacts”, were however detected by the airport x-ray machine.

Customs officials later identified the Ethiopian associates of the two Chinese citizens before transferring the case to the country’s corruption commission which undertook a detailed investigation.

The two Chinese and their Ethiopian associates later appeared at the Federal First Instance Court.

According to the court charge filed filed by the commission, the seized items included over 50 kilogrammes of various ornamental artifacts made of silver as well as hundreds of the newly introduced one birr coin.

Ethiopian law stipulates that the illegal transportation of national artifacts is a serious crime that is punishable by a 10 year prison term.

The court has adjourned the case involving the two Chinese citizens to Wednesday, January 26, 2011.

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