An Iraqi court sentenced a British man to 15 years in prison on Monday for trying to smuggle ancient artifacts out of the country, a Reuters reporter and judicial sources said.
Iraqi authorities had arrested James Fitton, 66, at Baghdad International Airport in March for carrying small fragments of ancient pottery in his baggage.
The Baghdad Criminal Court sentenced Fitton for taking the artifacts from a heritage site in southern Iraq and attempting to transport them out of the country “with criminal intent”, according to one judicial source – an offence normally punishable by death under Iraqi law.
Fitton’s lawyer said he would appeal the verdict on the grounds that there was no criminal intent.
A German man arrested alongside Fitton for also taking pottery fragments, Wolker Waldmann, was acquitted of the same charges.