Friday, 17 April 2015

Americans with illegal Iraq War souvenirs go unprosecuted

American military members, contractors and others caught with culturally significant artifacts they brought home from the war there are going largely unprosecuted. Years after the war, swords, artifacts and other items looted from Saddam Hussein's palaces are still turning up for sale online and at auctions, and in some cases U.S. agents have traced them to American government employees, who took them as souvenirs or war trophies. The materials are often returned once they become known, but defenders of the country's historical sites and artifacts argue that won't change anything. Smuggling cases are difficult to investigate, and prosecutors and courts generally have been satisfied to take them no further than forfeiture, said Patty Gerstenblith, director of DePaul University's Center for Art, Museum and Cultural Heritage Law. "Just giving the object up is not a deterrent," she said.
Michael Melia, 'Americans with illegal Iraq War souvenirs go unprosecuted', Associated Press April 17, 2015

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