Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the Persepolis Fortification tablets

On 19 July 2016 the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment against the plaintiffs and in favor of the OI and Iran in the lawsuit over the Persepolis Fortification tablets. One of the judges filed a dissent and noted that the court’s decision creates a conflict between decisions by different federal appellate courts on a core legal issue.  When this happens, the U.S. Supreme Court sometimes decides to review the cases and issue a decision that resolves the split, so there is the possibility of additional proceedings.  Stay tuned here on the PFA Project blog and to the Persepolis Tablets in the News page for further developments and links to analysis of this decision.

Oriental Institute Director Gil J. Stein said he is pleased with the ruling.
“While the university abhors the acts of terrorism that lead to this proceeding, the artifacts at issue here are not subject to attachment under either the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act or the Terrorism Risk and Insurance Act, The Institute looks forward to continuing its research on the Persepolis Collection, artifacts which provide unparalleled insight into the history and languages of the Persian Empire around 500 B.C.”
Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran


In 1997 Hamas suicide bombers blew themselves up on a crowded Jerusalem pedestrian mall. The grievously injured included eight U.S. citizens who filed a civil action against the Islamic Republic of Iran for its role in providing material support to the attackers. Iran was subject to suit as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(7). A district judge entered a $71.5 million default judgment. Iran did not pay. Among other efforts, the plaintiffs sought to execute on ancient Persian artifacts: the Persepolis, Chogha Mish, and Oriental Institute Collections, all in the possession of the University of Chicago; and the Herzfeld Collection, split between the University and Chicago’s Field Museum. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district judge’s conclusion that attachment and execution were unavailable under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, 28 U.S.C. 1610, which permits holders of terrorism-related judgments to execute on assets that are “blocked” by executive order under certain international sanctions provisions. The assets are not blocked by existing executive order. Nor does section 1610(a) apply. That provision permits execution on a foreign state’s property “used for a commercial activity in the United States.” The foreign state, Iran, did not put the artifacts to any commercial use. View "Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law

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