The first-ever legal bid to force the UK to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece has been thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights.
The court ruled that because the alleged theft of the sculptures from the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple took place more than 150 years before the UK signed up to the human rights convention, it did not have the power to consider the lawsuit.
Campaigners for the return of the sculptures pointed out that the court had not made a ruling on the “merits of the case”.
The marbles were taken from the temple by the Earl of Elgin in the 1800s and he then sold them to the British Government in 1816 after running into financial difficulties.
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