Isabel Vincent ("Antiquities-smuggle rap zapped", New York Post January 18, 2009) reports that "Bulgarian authorities refused to extradite Ali Aboutaam to Egypt, where he would face a 15-year prison sentence". She continued:
Aboutaam, a principal in Phoenix Ancient Art on the Upper East Side spent several weeks under house arrest in Sofia, Bulgaria, as officials debated whether to honor an Interpol warrant issued by the Egyptians, according to court papers.There is, as yet, no further response from the Egyptian authorities.
Aboutaam, 43, was convicted in Cairo in 2004 of smuggling the artifacts. Bulgaria this month rejected the extradition request.
"I think it would be very helpful if the Egyptians read the Bulgarian opinion," said Peter Chavkin, a Manhattan attorney for Aboutaam, who lives in Geneva.
"The Bulgarian authorities found that Ali was not afforded fundamental protections and that the underlying conviction was bogus."