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UK geologist jailed in Iraq 08:48 - Jun 7 with 3260 viewsstevec

‘’UK geologist jailed for 15 years in Iraq for collecting pottery shards

A RETIRED British geologist was sentenced to 15 years in an Iraqi jail yesterday after trying to take shards of broken pottery out of the country.

Jim Fitton, 66, collected a dozen stones and bits of ceramics as souvenirs during a recent geology and archaeology tour to Eridu, an ancient Mesopotamian city in southern Iraq.

While he could have faced the death penalty, the verdict shocked the court in Baghdad, including his defence lawyer, who expected a suspended jail term at worst.

The authorities said the sentence was reduced due to Fitton’s age but his son-in-law last night said the tariff amounted to a death sentence.

Sam Tasker, 27, also lambasted the UK Government for what he said was their ‘total lack of action in this case to date’.

Mr Tasker, who is married to Fitton’s daughter Leila, 31, added: ‘We are absolutely shattered. For a man of Jim’s age, 15 years in an Iraqi prison is tantamount to a death sentence. Particularly for such a trivial and dubious crime, a crime that Jim was not even aware of when he perpetrated it.

‘We are completely heartbroken that our own best efforts, a strong legal defence and constant campaigning, have led to this outcome. We are disappointed, indeed stunned, at our government’s total lack of action in this case to date. We are raising an appeal and will continue to fight for Jim’s freedom, and urge the Government to support us in every way possible and to open lines of communication with us at a senior level.’

Father-of-two Fitton, who is originally from Bath but lived in Malaysia with wife Sarijah, was arrested at Baghdad airport on March 20 alongside a German tourist Volker Waldmann, after airport security discovered the items in their luggage.

Mr Waldman’s defence team said the German tourist had been carrying the pieces for Fitton but did not pick them up from the site. He was released by the court. Judge Jabir Abd Jabir found that by picking up the items and intending to transport them out of the country, Fitton had criminal intent to smuggle them.

A report by the Iraqi culture ministry said the pieces were more than 200 years old, without offering any further explanation about their provenance.

The judge did not consider the arguments of Fitton’s lawyer Thair Soud that he was ignorant of Iraqi laws and the value of the items. ‘I thought the worst case scenario would be one year, with suspension,’ the shocked lawyer said. Fitton, who was well travelled during a career working as a geologist for oil and gas companies, collected the items as souvenirs while visiting a site in Eridu, in Iraq’s south east.

He had faced a potential death sentence, although Iraqi officials said that was only a remote possibility. A petition started by his family over the apparent lack of government action has so far been signed by more than 100,000 signatories.

The British diplomatic mission in Baghdad has not commented on its involvement in the case. If the two countries come to an agreement, it is possible Fitton could be sent back to Britain to serve his sentence here.

Eridu is thought to be one of the oldest cities of the ancient Mesopotamian civilisation, dating from 5,400BC until it was abandoned in about 600BC.’’


Seems harsh but if you are a geologist on a geological and archaeological tour to an ancient city and you don’t think picking up and taking home the very artefacts essential to a geological and archaeological tour might be asking for trouble then, at the very least, you’re not a particularly smart geologist.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 08:49 - Jun 7 with 3258 viewsTonto

Boris will soon tell Iraq its OK, the geologist was really collecting uranium so they should let him go.

Why stop now, just when I'm hating it
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 09:02 - Jun 7 with 3214 viewsBazzaInTheLoft

Agree on the stupidly off the individual.

Whatever the merits of the case, Iraq is slowly moving into the orbit of Iran because of the West’s behaviour so expect more petty anti West behaviour.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 09:24 - Jun 7 with 3158 viewsjoe90

UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 09:02 - Jun 7 by BazzaInTheLoft

Agree on the stupidly off the individual.

Whatever the merits of the case, Iraq is slowly moving into the orbit of Iran because of the West’s behaviour so expect more petty anti West behaviour.


I don't think I'd attribute Iran's influence on Iraq to the 'West's' behaviour. It's a very reductive view and completely ignores the complex historical and religious context that pre-dates Western colonial era intervention.

It's very much the CND/Stop the war line that strips people of history, the ability to hold views and take action independent of and outside of a Western intervention context.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 09:37 - Jun 7 with 3108 viewsBazzaInTheLoft

UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 09:24 - Jun 7 by joe90

I don't think I'd attribute Iran's influence on Iraq to the 'West's' behaviour. It's a very reductive view and completely ignores the complex historical and religious context that pre-dates Western colonial era intervention.

It's very much the CND/Stop the war line that strips people of history, the ability to hold views and take action independent of and outside of a Western intervention context.


Nothing CND or StW could ever say or do would reduce the regions history, culture, and rights more than 600,000 deaths in a illegal war and the assassination of an Iranian general on it’s soil.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 09:59 - Jun 7 with 3068 viewsjoe90

UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 09:37 - Jun 7 by BazzaInTheLoft

Nothing CND or StW could ever say or do would reduce the regions history, culture, and rights more than 600,000 deaths in a illegal war and the assassination of an Iranian general on it’s soil.


No doubt the war in Iraq was a disaster, but Soleimani had about as much right to be in Iraq as the Brits and Yanks.

We'll have to agree to disagree about CND and STW.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 11:18 - Jun 7 with 2953 viewstoboboly

If the pieces are 200 years old then they aren't anything to do with Eridu or any Mesopotamian ancient culture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eridu

Sexy Asian dwarves wanted.

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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 11:28 - Jun 7 with 2919 viewsDavieQPR

He's a Geologist not an ordinary tourist. He knew the rules and what he was doing. Although sentence high more than likely pitched for a diplomatic/ financial settlement.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 11:51 - Jun 7 with 2861 viewsbosh67

UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 11:28 - Jun 7 by DavieQPR

He's a Geologist not an ordinary tourist. He knew the rules and what he was doing. Although sentence high more than likely pitched for a diplomatic/ financial settlement.


I agree. I feel for his family but it was a bonkers thing to do. You're right a 15-year sentence equals brown envelope of cash I would presume to resolve it.

Never knowingly right.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 13:55 - Jun 7 with 2666 viewsted_hendrix

Savage prison sentence, however whilst I was visiting Indian Reservations In Arizona each and everyone of the reservations had the following or similar signs which was self explanatory and something I rightly took on board.

*Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints*

My Father had a profound influence on me, he was a lunatic.

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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 14:06 - Jun 7 with 2641 viewsLythamR

"We are disappointed, indeed stunned, at our government’s total lack of action in this case to date"

Been caught stealing, what do they expect the government to do! its not the 19th century where a word from the ambassador backed up by a gunboat would make this go away.
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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 15:11 - Jun 7 with 2565 viewsBoston

UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 13:55 - Jun 7 by ted_hendrix

Savage prison sentence, however whilst I was visiting Indian Reservations In Arizona each and everyone of the reservations had the following or similar signs which was self explanatory and something I rightly took on board.

*Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints*


They must be the only Reservations in America where the residents aren’t flogging off bead bracelets and feathery paraphernalia!

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UK geologist jailed in Iraq on 19:00 - Jun 7 with 2421 viewsOakR

Well the bit I heard on the radio earlier said he was travelling with a guide, someone from the ministry of culture and a policeman who all said it was fine to pick them up and take them (he checked with them to be sure).

Hard to know the truth of course but I'd be inclined to believe it.

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