Iraq cancels imprisonment sentence of British national accused of smuggling antiquities
An Iraqi court has overturned the conviction and 15-year sentence handed to a British pensioner last month for antiquities smuggling, the defense of the pensioner has said, Arab News reports.
Lawyer Thaer Saoud told AFP Tuesday the Court of Cassation overturned the conviction of his client James Fitton who is expected to be freed.
“We are very pleased by the decision, but we are still waiting for his release,” Fitton’s son-in-law Sam Tasker, told AFP in a phone call. A court had charged Fitton under a 2002 law against “intentionally taking or trying to take out of Iraq an antiquity.”
He appeared in court alongside German national Volker Waldmann, who was acquitted. Iraqi customs authorities said Fitton’s baggage contained about a dozen stone fragments, pieces of pottery or ceramics.
Fiiton, a retired geologist, told the judge did not mean to do anything illegal. The judge handed him a 15-year prison sentence instead of death by hanging due to his advanced age.
Saoud appealed the court ruling a month ago.