Verdict of Death
For accused smuggling of historical treasures, Jim Fitton, a 66-year-old retired British geologist, may face the death penalty in Iraq. Fitton was on an archaeological dig in Eridu, Iraq, when he came upon several stone shards from the famed ancient site.
His children, Joshua and Leila Fhave informed the press that their father had no idea that the fragments were of historical importance. Ms. Fitton has given a statement that Mr. Fitton had collected the stones from an open and unguarded area of the historical site where there were no signs of warning against removal of fragments.
Even the tour guide did not mention the historical importance of the artifacts, and considered it as ordinary and valueless. On 20 March, when Mr. Fitton’s baggage was checked at the airport along with the rest of the members of the tour group, he and another German national were arrested.
Iraqi officials accused Jim Fitton of attempting to smuggle historical artifacts. Upon taken into custody, Fitton stands to face trial on 7th May. Considering that the statutory sentence for illegal smuggling of historical artifacts out of the country is execution, Jim Fitton may have doomed himself unknowingly.
Government response and effort
Fitton’s family has been cooperating with the Foreign and Commonwealth office of U.K to facilitate the quick release and return of the 66 year old British National. Mr. Fitton’s son-in-law Sam Tasker, said to the news agencies that their family is terrified of the proceedings and anxious to bring him home safe and sound.
The family’s lawyer has drafted a proposal for the cessation of Jim Fitton’s case. But without the backing of U.K’s Foreign Office to put in front of Iraq’s judiciary system.
Mr. Tasker’s local MP in Bath, Wera Hobhouse has said that she has asked nation’s ministers to look into the incredibly distressing case of Jim Fitton and his German Counterpart and to do all that can be done to bring the senior British national back home.
Foreign Office minister Amanda Milling said in a statement “We perceive the urgency of the case, and have already raised our issues with the Iraqi authorities concerning the potential imposition of the execution in Mr. Fitton’s case.”
Nearly 50,000 people, have already signed a petition to free Jim Fitton on the interne.
Published By – Supreeti Ghosh