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UK geologist jailed in Iraq
at 08:48 7 Jun 2022

‘’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.
Do you ever get the feeling…
at 17:57 22 May 2022

… the Premier League is choreographed?

It’s more like 1970’s wrestling .
More room on the train?
at 07:36 19 May 2022

‘Coke head’ football fans face long ban

MIDDLE class ‘coke heads’ found with the drug at football matches face a five-year ban, Boris Johnson will announce today.

Anyone convicted of using cocaine at games will also face losing their passport to stop them travelling to overseas games.

The Prime Minister will say: ‘Middle class coke heads should stop kidding themselves, their habit is feeding a war on our streets driving misery and crime across our country and beyond. That’s why we are stepping up our efforts to make sure those who break the law face the full consequences - because taking illegal drugs is never a victimless crime.’

Five-year football banning orders can currently be imposed by courts only on offenders convicted of violence, disorder and racist or homophobic chanting.

The measures are expected to be introduced during the coming 2022/2023 season. More than 1,300 orders are in force now.
I’m forever booting tiddles
at 10:24 9 Feb 2022

Pretty tiddles in the air

at 08:53 13 Jan 2022

Got today’s in 5, a proper English word.
Premier League and penalties
at 09:15 12 Dec 2021

Noticed the ‘big four’ all won their games yesterday with a penalty.

What a dodgy pile of shite top level football has become.
at 07:49 16 Mar 2021

Come on lads, I need your help.
AA Bants
at 10:38 4 Feb 2021

Kid who pulled that video stunt on Chris Whitty.

All power to his Mum though, with possibly the finest riposte of all time ... ' I was so angry with him I've confiscated his Playstation'.

Mandem indeed.
Oh the weather outside is frightful..
at 10:42 24 Jan 2021

Whose getting some? Snow that is.

Lovely down here on Epsom Downs
World Cup 2022 Draw
at 17:58 7 Dec 2020

Albania, Andorra, San Marino. What is the fckin point?
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