Jim Fitton: British geologist jailed in Iraq reunited with family in Malaysia

Jim Fitton has returned to Malaysia where he has been reunited with his family Credit: Family Handout

A British geologist who was sentenced to 15 years in an Iraqi prison has been reunited with his family after having his conviction overturned.

Jim Fitton, from Bath in Somerset, was detained as he tried to leave Baghdad airport with 12 stones and shards of broken pottery in March this year.

He had collected the items as souvenirs while on an organised geology and archaeology tour in Eridu - a historical site in south east Iraq.

Following his release from prison, Mr Fitton has now flown to Malaysia where he lives, to be reunited with his family.

Jim Fitton was freed after he had his 15 year sentence overturned Credit: Family Handout

It follows a campaign by the family including a petition to have him freed - it gathered more than 350,000 signatures.

Mr Fitton's daughter Leila Tasker told ITV News: "He has lost a lot of weight and we have got a health screening appointment booked for him next week.

"He is keeping positive and doesn't really talk about anything."

Despite insisting he had not acted with criminal intent, Mr Fitton was found guilty of artefact smuggling and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Mr Fitton's son-in-law, Sam Tasker, said in a statement: "We are extremely grateful for the support of our lawyer, embassy staff and our MP’s office while we have fought this verdict.

"We greatly appreciate the decision of the appeals court to completely overturn the verdict and fully recognise Jim’s innocence."

Following his release, Bath's Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse said the British Government should have done more to help him.

She told ITV News: "We got in touch with the minister and we heard nothing for ten days, now I thought that wasn't good enough.

"I don't know if that's a protocol of the process - and remember that was four weeks after Jim was imprisoned."

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We welcome the decision by the Iraqi authorities on the acquittal and release of a British national in Iraq. We will continue to offer consular assistance if needed.”