Amal Alamuddin Clooney may join Greece’s battle to retrieve its antiquities from the British Museum.
Human rights lawyers Alamuddin Clooney, recently married to the actor George, and Geoffrey Robertson will visit Athens next week to confer with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras over the Greek government’s fight to recover the Parthenon sculptures displayed at the museum. The Doughty Street barristers will visit Athens from October 13 to October 16 at the invitation of the Greek government, the London-based legal firm said in a statement on its website.
The visit may breathe new life into Greece’s campaign to retrieve the sculptures, known as the Elgin Marbles and taken from the Parthenon’s frieze to Britain more than 200 hundred years ago. Successive UK governments have said they won’t be returned. The frieze depicts gods, giants, Greeks and centaurs in the annual Panathenaic procession.
Alamuddin Clooney and Robertson were first asked to provide legal advice to Athens on the campaign to retrieve the artworks from the 5th century BC Acropolis held in London in 2011, according to the legal firm’s statement.
They will also be meeting Culture Minister Konstantinos Tasoulas during their trip to Athens.
Samaras was culture minister in June 2009 when the New Acropolis Museum opened in Athens, three decades after the first call for a design. The museum is Greece’s answer to the British Museum’s argument that there’s nowhere to house the Marbles.
White plaster replicas of the stones in the British Museum sit next to the sand-colored stones left behind in Athens in the top glass gallery of the building designed by Bernard Tschumi.
British Museum director Neil MacGregor, in a 2007 interview, said objects could in theory be loaned for up to six months, though this would be impossible while the Greek government refused to acknowledge the Museum as the legal owner. Samaras said at the time that would be unacceptable to any Greek government.
Robertson led a legal initiative in 2006 which required the Natural History Museum to return the remains of Tasmanian Aborigines, according to the Doughty Street statement on Thursday.
Alamuddin Clooney is married to Oscar-winning actor George Clooney, who called on Britain to return the Marbles to Greece in February during a news conference for his film “The Monuments Men”.
At the time, then Greek Culture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos thanked Clooney and invited him to visit the New Acropolis Museum.