On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that victims of terrorist attacks cannot seize Iranian antiquities currently on loan to a museum in Chicago to help satisfy a $71.5 million dollar judgment against Iran.
According to CNN, the 8-0 ruling led by Justin Sonia Sotomeyer is a loss for citizens of the United States who were either wounded or a close relative to those injured in an attack when Hamas carried out three suicide bombings in a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem, in September 1997.
In US federal court, the petitioners sued Iran – alleging it was responsible for the bombing as it provided material support to Hamas. The court entered a judgment in their favor in the amount of $71.5 million.
The petitions attempted to seize assets as Iran didn’t pay the judgment. Assets that are located in the U.S. – including a collection of approximately 30,000 clay tablets known as the Persepolis Collection, loaned to the University of Chicago in 1937.
The victims under a provision of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act backed seizing the aforementioned assets.
But Sotomayor wrote that the law, which grants foreign states immunity from suits in the United States with some exceptions, “does not provide a freestanding basis for parties” to “attach and execute” against the property of a foreign state.
As she presumably dealt with the case in her previous job as solicitor general during the Obama administration, Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case.
To get a sneak peek at the Persepolis Section at Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, scroll onto the video below – courtesy of Ed Saiedi.