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Iraq Trial of Briton and German for Antiquity Theft Adjourned

Iraq Trial of Briton and German for Antiquity Theft Adjourned

Monday, 23 May, 2022 - 07:00
James Fitton (L), a retired British geologist, and Volker Waldmann (C), a Berlin psychologist, leave Baghdad/Karkh Federal Appeal Court after attending an appeal hearing. Photo: Ameer Al-Mohammedawi/dpa

An Iraqi court on Sunday adjourned for two weeks the trial of a Briton and a German man accused of trying to smuggle antiquities after a defense lawyer called for more investigations.

James Fitton, 66, a retired British geologist, and Volker Waldmann, 60, a Berlin psychologist, have been in custody since they were arrested on March 20 at Baghdad airport as they wound up their holiday.

They collected 12 stones and shards of broken pottery during their recent tour.

"We don't have any more details: what site do these pieces come from? What era, what civilization do they date back to?" Waldmann's defense lawyer, Furat Kuba asked, adding there were also outstanding questions relating to the site where the fragments were collected.

"Is it fenced and protected?" Kuba asked. "Are there signs indicating that these are ancient pieces that it is forbidden to collect?"

Kuba said he wanted the tour guide or an Iraqi official who had been present at the site to give evidence in court as to whether the tourists had received instructions prohibiting them from picking up fragments.

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