British retired geologist. who faces death penalty over allegations of attempted smuggling of artifacts out of Iraq told the court that it had no idea that it was breaking the law.
Jim Fitton, 66, collected 12 rocks and pieces. of broken pottery as souvenirs when visiting the site in Eridu in southeast of the country of organized tour of geology and archeology.
He showed up with Volker Waldmann, German tourist, in front of panel of Baghdad court judges on Sunday wearing a yellow a uniform.
They were held in country since items we found in their bags like their tour group ready to fly out of Baghdad on 20th of March.
men told the court they didn’t act with criminal intention.
Fitton said he “suspected” items he collected were ancient fragments, adding that “at that time I did not know about Iraqi laws” or that it is forbidden to take fragments.
“There were fences at the facilities, there were no guards or signs,” he said.
Jaber Abdel Jabir, head the judge said: “These places, in name and by definition are ancient places. Needless to say, it’s forbidden.”
When Fitton said that some of the fragments were “no bigger than my fingernail”, head the judge said, “Size doesn’t matter.”
Fitton was in habit of collected such fragments as a hobby and was not going to of sell them, the court was told.
Waldman said that two items found in his possession did not belong to him and were given to him by Fitton to carry.
Both men could face in death penalty under Iraqi law.
Fitton Lives in Malaysia with his wife Sariya. His daughter Leila Fitton, 31, and her husband Sam Tasker founded in Bath.
Their petition – together with Fitton son Joshua – call for UK ministers to intervene to help free geologist collected more over 270,000 signatures.
It was also raised in House of Commons last week.
foreign office minister James Cleverly told the British Ambassador in Iraq raised case four times with local authorities.