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British man could face death penalty in Iraq for 'collecting stone fragments'


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

A retired British geologist could face the death penalty in Iraq after being accused of attempting to smuggle historic artefacts out of the country.

Jim Fitton, 66, was on an archaeology tour, where he collected some stone fragments.

His children, Joshua and Leila, from Bath, said he had "no knowledge" that they were of "historic significance".

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said it is providing support to a British national in Iraq.

Mr Fitton's family say the statutory punishment for illegally smuggling historical items out of Iraq is execution.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-61274804

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Meanwhile, back in the 15th century............ 

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I think they're just posturing to make a point that Britain can't just waltz in and steal any more of their ****, they're not going to actually give a foreign national the death penalty. They already have enough problems without **** like that bringing down even more heat on them.

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On 4/30/2022 at 1:35 PM, Still Waters said:

A retired British geologist could face the death penalty in Iraq after being accused of attempting to smuggle historic artefacts out of the country.

Jim Fitton, 66, was on an archaeology tour, where he collected some stone fragments.

His children, Joshua and Leila, from Bath, said he had "no knowledge" that they were of "historic significance".

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said it is providing support to a British national in Iraq.

Mr Fitton's family say the statutory punishment for illegally smuggling historical items out of Iraq is execution.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-61274804

The article clearly states that this idiot was on an archaeological tour!!! I can't believe this man went to the site of what is possibly the oldest city in the world - the Sumerian city of Eridu in southern Mesopotamia - and took rocks away from it, claiming he thought they had no more value than pebbles off a beach. The area has been the focus of an international archaeological dig since 2019 when American, Italian and Iraqi institutions cooperated to excavate it.

Under the direction of Iraq's Ministry of Antiquities and Culture, the site has been patrolled by the military and private security for years and is a tourist attraction because of its archaeological significance. 

Iraq's national government have laws against this kind of cultural vandalism, laws that have been backed up internationally by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property. 

Imagine entering a sovereign country and attempting to take potentially significant material from one of its oldest archaeological sites out of the country. The time when 'gentlemen' looters could rob with impunity the cultural heritage of other countries is over and today's art galleries, museums and institutions will not purchase or exhibit contraband artefacts.

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Posted (edited)

De Beers searches it's workers when they leave the mines. Outrageous, they are just stones at the end of the day. In the UK, it is an offence to take sand or pebbles from the beaches, or dig up and take home plants you see and fancy in public parks. They are an important public and national resource or something. The world has gone mad! Why can't we just help ourselves to things we want?

Edited by The Silver Shroud
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10 hours ago, Autochthon1990 said:

I think they're just posturing to make a point that Britain can't just waltz in and steal any more of their ****, they're not going to actually give a foreign national the death penalty. They already have enough problems without **** like that bringing down even more heat on them.

Regardless of their intention, the guy was clearly sure what he was doing. A geologist, (66, retired, ohhhhhh but but he is an old old old man, those iraky savages......) on an archaelogical venture. Let's make it clear, he was there for the steal. No if and buts.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Ozymandias said:

 

The article clearly states that this idiot was on an archaeological tour!!! I can't believe this man went to the site of what is possibly the oldest city in the world - the Sumerian city of Eridu in southern Mesopotamia - and took rocks away from it, claiming he thought they had no more value than pebbles off a beach. The area has been the focus of an international archaeological dig since 2019 when American, Italian and Iraqi institutions cooperated to excavate it.

Under the direction of Iraq's Ministry of Antiquities and Culture, the site has been patrolled by the military and private security for years and is a tourist attraction because of its archaeological significance. 

Iraq's national government have laws against this kind of cultural vandalism, laws that have been backed up internationally by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property. 

Imagine entering a sovereign country and attempting to take potentially significant material from one of its oldest archaeological sites out of the country. The time when 'gentlemen' looters could rob with impunity the cultural heritage of other countries is over and today's art galleries, museums and institutions will not purchase or exhibit contraband artefacts.

Yes, the nasty old b***ard deserves the death penalty & the german guy too....teach those evil thieves a lesson. :tu:

Actually we could do the same with foreign criminals in this country too. All those people crossing the channel and entering the country illegally could be put up against the wall and shot....sounds fair. :rolleyes:

Perhaps before we rush to judgement we should find out what it was he had actually taken. BBC not much use in producing facts as usual. Was it something of real value or literally just rocks and are the Iraqis just using this as an attempt to extort a few hundred million from the British government (taxpayers) much like the Iranians have just done recently? Or should Iran have just executed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe for 'breaking the law' ?

Edited by itsnotoutthere
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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Family of Bath geologist Jim Fitton facing death penalty in Iraq 'incredibly worried'

A second court hearing will take place tomorrow (22 May) where judges must determine whether the defendants had sought to profit by taking the items.

Jim's family have also been critical of the help they have received from the UK Government since his arrest in March.

https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2022-05-21/family-of-bath-geologist-facing-death-penalty-incredibly-worried

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On 5/1/2022 at 8:22 PM, Ozymandias said:

 

The article clearly states that this idiot was on an archaeological tour!!! I can't believe this man went to the site of what is possibly the oldest city in the world - the Sumerian city of Eridu in southern Mesopotamia - and took rocks away from it, claiming he thought they had no more value than pebbles off a beach. The area has been the focus of an international archaeological dig since 2019 when American, Italian and Iraqi institutions cooperated to excavate it.

Under the direction of Iraq's Ministry of Antiquities and Culture, the site has been patrolled by the military and private security for years and is a tourist attraction because of its archaeological significance. 

Iraq's national government have laws against this kind of cultural vandalism, laws that have been backed up internationally by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Cultural Property. 

Imagine entering a sovereign country and attempting to take potentially significant material from one of its oldest archaeological sites out of the country. The time when 'gentlemen' looters could rob with impunity the cultural heritage of other countries is over and today's art galleries, museums and institutions will not purchase or exhibit contraband artefacts.

Yes, it sounds very plausible.

But still executing him is a bit extreme. Sounds more like 2 weeks in a prison or a small fine.

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On 5/2/2022 at 3:34 AM, odas said:

Regardless of their intention, the guy was clearly sure what he was doing. A geologist, (66, retired, ohhhhhh but but he is an old old old man, those iraky savages......) on an archaelogical venture. Let's make it clear, he was there for the steal. No if and buts.

Yes, agreed. His family say they are critical of the lack of FO help. But he was caught red handed trying to smuggle stuff out. Bit hard to defend that. I expect he thought a few artifacts from the oldest archeological site in the world would look nice on his mantlepiece, or worth a few bob on the black market.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (IP: Staff) ·

British geologist jailed in Iraq after taking artefacts

A retired British geologist has been jailed for 15 years for attempting to remove artefacts from Iraq.

Jim Fitton, 66, who is originally from Bath, collected 12 stones and shards of broken pottery during a recent geology and archaeology tour of the country.

Mr Fitton has insisted he had no idea he was breaking Iraqi laws.

The family of Mr Fitton said they were "absolutely shattered" and "heartbroken" by the news. They urged the government to help free him.

"For a man of Jim's age, 15 years in an Iraqi prison is tantamount to a death sentence," the family added.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-61705370

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1 hour ago, Still Waters said:

British geologist jailed in Iraq after taking artefacts

A retired British geologist has been jailed for 15 years for attempting to remove artefacts from Iraq.

Jim Fitton, 66, who is originally from Bath, collected 12 stones and shards of broken pottery during a recent geology and archaeology tour of the country.

Mr Fitton has insisted he had no idea he was breaking Iraqi laws.

The family of Mr Fitton said they were "absolutely shattered" and "heartbroken" by the news. They urged the government to help free him.

"For a man of Jim's age, 15 years in an Iraqi prison is tantamount to a death sentence," the family added.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-61705370

I believe he knew what he is doing but on the other hand, a death penalty or the 15 years is too much. I could see a year and beeing expelled to make a point to others but, this is too much.

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Posted (edited)

If one commits a crime in another country they should be punished.

Being ignorant of a law is no excuse (and in this case I think he is being manipulative). Whether 15 years is excessive or appropriate will depend on what artefacts he stole. He is lucky, in the past an offence like that would have cost him the offending hand in that country.

Edited by Cookie Monster
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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Geologist Jim Fitton appeals against jail sentence in Iraq

Appeal judges are expected to consider Mr Fitton's case in the next two to four weeks, although there is no set timeframe.

His son-in-law Sam Tasker, 27, from Bath, Somerset, said: "The appeal is in.

"It, as far as we understand it, will be processed behind closed doors by a small group of judges within the Iraqi judiciary, and they will issue a verdict."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-61925962

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