HL Deb 13 May 2003 vol 648 cc33-4WA
Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they can undertake under present United Nations sanctions to prevent the sale of Iraqi antiquities through the Internet; what steps they are undertaking to monitor such sales; and whether such sales are being undertaken by dealers based in the United Kingdom or through Internet servers located in the United Kingdom. [HL2643]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey:

HM Customs & Excise is responsible for the enforcement of UN sanctions, which include the illegal import of Iraqi antiquities. It will follow up any specific information relating to breaches of those sanctions whether the items were obtained in Iraq, via the Internet or obtained from any other source.

Customs have alerted staff to the risk of looted Iraqi antiquities reaching the UK. They will detain any suspect items and can seize them and prosecute offenders in appropriate cases.

Customs are in contact with Department of Culture, Media and Sport, UK Police and Interpol to share information on suspected stolen Iraqi antiquities. However, the Government cannot comment publicly on Customs' information sources or areas of research; Exemption 4 (Law enforcement and legal proceedings) of the Open Government Code applies.

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