Man faces $20 million fine for stealing manuscripts

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
Published 17.04.2016 20:55

A civil servant found himself in hot water after he retired from the library where he worked 16 years ago. The suspect identified as S. Ç. is ordered to pay $20 million in compensation for the nearly 200 "invaluable" manuscripts he stole.

Media outlets reported that the incident came to light when the suspect asked for his retirement from the library where he worked for decades. When running an inventory of books in the historic Yusufağa library in the central city of Konya in 2000, the year he sought retirement, officials noted discrepancies in the records. A count of the books found 110 manuscripts, including seven rare ones penned by prominent Muslim scholars, went missing. The covers of 62 other manuscripts were also missing. S. Ç. was found guilty of embezzlement by a local court and sentenced to five years while the Culture and Tourism Ministry filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from the civil servant.

Experts appointed by the court found that the manuscripts and covers dated back to almost 1,000 years ago and had "scientific, artistic and historical value." Experts told the court they could not put a price tag on the "invaluable" artifacts but to fulfill the demand for compensation, they come up with the "symbolic value" of $20 million. The court asked S. Ç. to pay compensation plus interest since 2000.

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