Photo: Chichen Itza
People who damage, alter or destroy archaeological, artistic or historical monuments in Mexico will face up to 10 years behind bars under a law that took effect Saturday.
Fines will also be levied that could equal the value of the damage caused by those who commit such acts, according to modifications to the Federal Law on Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historic Zones, passed by Congress in April and published Friday in the official gazette.
Fines from $5,176 to $15,528 will also be applied to those who carry out works of archaeological exploration that involve the excavation or removal of objects without authorization by the competent authorities.
Prison sentences from five to 12 years and fines from $15,528 to $25,880 will also be imposed on those who remove an archaeological, artistic or historical monument from the country without the corresponding permit.
Those who transfer ownership of archaeological monuments in their possession or sell them, and whoever transports, exhibits or reproduces them without the corresponding permit or registration, will face three to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,528.
The penalties can be increased by up to 50 percent for those who order, induce, direct, organize or finance such conduct.
The National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, believes that with these regulations, Mexico “takes the lead in protecting and preserving archaeological, paleontological, anthropological and historical assets.”