US tourist faces jail in Turkey for collecting beach ‘stones’

STONESAn American tourist who collected stones during a six-day beach holiday with his wife was briefly detained in Turkey and faces trial for attempting to smuggle historical artifacts, he said on Wednesday.

Jason Dement was taken into custody by security officials at Antalya airport, near Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, on Sunday because two of the pieces inside a bag of stones appeared to be artifacts. On Monday, a court released him from custody but barred him from leaving Turkey.

His lawyer said Dement, 30, from Purvis, Mississippi, faces prosecution under strict Turkish laws against the smuggling of artifacts. Turkey has broad definitions about what constitutes historical artifacts and Fatma Zuhre Akinci, the lawyer, said a museum report confirmed the pieces picked out by the security officials to be artifacts.

The report, cited in court papers, did not say precisely what the pieces may have been or say how old they may be, Akinci said.

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