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Tribal masks: Bid to stop Hopi artefact auction fails

12 April 2013 Last updated at 14:27 BST

A French judge has given permission for the auction of masks originating from the native American Hopi tribe in Arizona.

The Hopi say the 70 masks are blessed with divine spirits and their sale would amount to sacrilege.

Auctioneers, however, say the masks had been bought and sold in the past and were legally acquired.

The legal proceedings were brought by the organisation Survival International, which defends the rights of tribal peoples.

Its advocacy director Jonathan Mazower told the BBC that the Hopi people were "deeply distressed".