Geneva officials OK transfer of ancient coffin to Turkey

This undated image released by the office of the Geneva Public Prosecutor shows a section of a sarcophagus dating back to the Roman Empire that depicts the 12 labors of Hercules.  Geneva's public prosecutor's office says it has decided to hand over to Turkey the second-century marble coffin which was seized by Swiss customs officials in 2010. (Geneva Public Prosecutor/via AP)
This undated image released by the office of the Geneva Public Prosecutor shows a section of a sarcophagus dating back to the Roman Empire that depicts the 12 labors of Hercules. Geneva's public prosecutor's office says it has decided to hand over to Turkey the second-century marble coffin which was seized by Swiss customs officials in 2010. (Geneva Public Prosecutor/via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — Geneva’s public prosecutor’s office says it has decided to hand over to Turkey a “priceless” sarcophagus dating back to the Roman Empire that depicts the 12 labors of Hercules.

The second-century marble coffin was seized by Swiss customs officials in 2010. Turkey has sought its restitution.

The prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that its decision is not final. The cultural goods importer who possessed the coffin has argued against the handover and has 10 days to appeal.

Cultural officials say the coffin, showing Hercules strangling the Nemean Lion and killing the Hydra, among others, is one of 12 of its kind known in the world. It’s been traced to the Roman city of Dokimeion, thought to have been in the modern-day province of Antalya in Turkey.

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