Ethiopia has entreated the British Museum to return 9 tabots that were looted after the Battle of Maqdale in 1868, the wood and stone tabots are considered by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as the dwelling place of God on Earth and carry huge spiritual and religious value for the people of Ethiopia. Under the British Museum Act of 1963 the museum argues that it is forbidden to restitute objects in its collection.
Samantha Knights QC is instructed by Leigh Day on behalf of the Scheherazade Foundation and has argued that the tabots are unfit to be retained under the 1963 Act. The museum has no public images of the objects and students/members are not permitted to study them, in 150ys they have never been on public display. On this basis the tabots are treated differently to the Museum’s collection and are therefore ‘unfit to be retained’.