British retired geologist faces death penalty over accusations he tried smuggling artefacts out of Iraq has told court he had no idea he was breaking the law.
The British retired geologist identified as Jim Fitton collected 12 stones and shards of broken pottery as souvenirs while visiting a site in southeast Iraq.
Jim Fitton, 66 years old and from London collected 12 stones as souvenirs while visiting a site in Eridu. He was on an organized tour with other people who also took part to learn more about geology and archaeology
He appeared in front of a panel of judges wearing yellow clothes and stood next to Volker Waldmann, who is German tourist.
The tourists had their items seized at gunpoint as they were preparing to fly out of Baghdad on 20 March.
But the men told the court they had not acted with criminal intent.
Fitton explained that he “suspected” the items in his collection were ancient fragments, but at time he did not know about Iraqi laws or these sites are off limits because there’s fencing with no guards and signage.
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