Portuguese town council gets to keep 4-century-old Torah

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A rural town council in Portugal says a court has ruled that a 400-year-old Torah scroll found by accident can remain in public hands, rejecting a businessman's claim that he bought it.

The Covilha council says the scroll — a sacred Jewish text — was found by a construction worker about 10 years ago during a building demolition in the town.

The council later found out about the scroll, which is 30 meters (100 feet) long, and called in experts who said it was authentic.

After the council announced last year the scroll was being put on public display, a local businessman claimed in court that he had bought the relic from the construction worker.

The council in Covilha, 300 kilometers (185 miles) northeast of Lisbon, said Monday that the court had ruled in its favor.

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