Valuable Ethiopian artefact to be returned
Publish date: 07 October 2019
Issue Number: 844
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
An 18th Century Ethiopian crown will finally be returned home after being hidden in a Dutch flat for 21 years. Ethiopian businessman Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in 1978, discovered the crown in the suitcase of a countryman and realised it was stolen. ‘Finally, it is the right time to bring back the crown to its owners – and the owners of the crown are all Ethiopians,’ he told the BBC. The crown is thought to be one of just 20 in existence. It has depictions of Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit and was likely gifted to a church by the powerful warlord Welde Sellase hundreds of years ago. Sirak fled the political repression of the Communist government which unleashed a wave of violence known as the Red Terror.