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The family of a retired geologist from Bath who was detained during a trip to Iraq say they are "shellshocked" he could face the death penalty.
Jim Fitton, 66, was arrested at Baghdad Airport on 20 March. He has been accused of attempting to smuggle historical artefacts after officers had found shards of pottery in his bag. He has been detained in a cell at the airport ever since.
Jim's daughter Leila Fitton and husband Sam Tasker told ITV West Country: "We're shellshocked really. How could anyone ever react to a situation like this?
"Jim is a 66 year-old retired geologist who is fiercely independent. He is a very experienced traveller. It's the last thing you expect."
Leila and Sam are calling on the Foreign Office to step in ahead of his upcoming trial. They claim they are currently fighting this "completely alone". The statutory punishment for Jim's alleged crime is execution.
"We have no idea what could happen but the black and white of the law is execution", said Sam.
Jim has been able to exchange a few messages with his family but no one has been able to directly speak to him.
Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has been offering to help support the family. She says the situation is a matter of life and death.
Wera Hobhouse MP said: "I take this extremely seriously. I have raised the dithering or delay of the foreign office and the minister for Asia and the middle east in the house.
"We have now got a petition going. We now see this is picking up in terms of public interest and the press and I'm really grateful for any public attention this issue gets.
"That's the only way now to pressurise the foreign office to do more", she added.
The Foreign Office issued a statement: "We are providing consular support to a British national in Iraq and are in contact with the local authorities.”