A British retiree was on Monday sentenced by Iraqi court to 15 years in prison for trying to smuggle antiquities out of the country but acquitted his German co-accused.
The maximum penalty for the offence is death by hanging. However, the court decided on a lesser sentence for James Fitton, 66, “because of the advanced age of the accused,” the judge said.
The court found “insufficient evidence” to convict co-accused Volker Waldmann, 60, who was visiting Iraq with Fitton on an organised tour when they were arrested in March at Baghdad airport.
Fitton’s lawyer said that he would appeal.
When the judge asked the men, dressed in yellow prisoners’ clothing, whether they were guilty or not guilty “of trafficking antiquities,” each replied: “Not guilty.”
They were charged under a 2002 law against “intentionally taking or trying to take out of Iraq an antiquity”.