BRYANSK, 16 April (RAPSI) – A law professor from Bryansk who was arrested in Iraq for trying to take home a few fragments of pottery has been released, a Bryansk official said.

Alexander Gorbachyov, head of the law department at Bryansk State University in western Russia, picked the fragments up from the ground during a guided tour from Egypt, where he was on vacation with his wife. He was detained at Iraqi customs on suspicion of attempting to smuggle items of “cultural and historical value” out of Iraq.

The pottery fragments were sent for examination to determine if they were ancient and hence a part of national heritage. If the fragments had proven valuable, the professor could have faced a life sentence in Iraq.

Mikhail Marchenko, who represents the Bryansk Region in the Russian parliament’s upper house, said that the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Baghdad did their best to help Gorbachyov.

In particular, the embassy sent a note to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry asking them to expedite the examination of the fragments.