Thursday, 23 June 2016

No-Questions-Asking Collectors Behind Bars is What we Need

The parents of a British Muslim convert who is believed to have joined the Islamic State group are set to stand trial in January for terrorism-related charges (Associated press, 'Parents of Suspected Terrorist to Face Trial in 2017' June 23rd, 2016)
John Letts and Sally Lane are charged with funding terrorism for allegedly sending money to their 20-year-old son Jack Letts. Jack Letts left his home in Oxford and travelled to Syria in 2014. He has been dubbed "Jihadi Jack" by some British media. His parents are accused of transferring payments of roughly 1,750 pounds ($2,600) in 2015 and 2016. They were released on bail. The trial date was set Thursday during a hearing at the Old Bailey court.
Interesting case, first of all, there is the issue of defining what we mean by the coverall term "terrorism". Secondly, one wonders whether, if the case is successfully concluded, we will soon see trials of UK or US antiquities dealers and collectors similarly charged with funding terrorism by passing money to middlemen handling artefacts traded from or through ISIL-held territories. Now, that would be a good thing if it could be pulled off. After all, nobody could claim they bought stuff "in good faith" given the amount of publicity this issue has received. A few collectors behind bars would lead to an increase in awareness of the need for proper, not the limp declared  ("Chapter 14") due diligence which is all these people usually manage.

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