First Published: 2017-06-28

US Supreme Court to decide on Iran artifact case
Court will have final word on long-running legal battle over whether Persian artifacts in Chicago museums can be seized as compensation for victims of terror attack in Israel.
Middle East Online

The Field Museum in Chicago

WASHINGTON - The US Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide on a long-running legal battle over whether Persian artifacts in Chicago museums can be seized as compensation for victims of a terror attack in Israel.

The court will have the final word in the more than decade-long saga between Iran and five US citizens, who blame the Islamic republic for its support of militant group Hamas.

The case highlights the difficulty for victims in obtaining judgments in their favor against sovereign states accused of supporting organizations considered by Washington to be terror groups.

The last decision in the case favored Tehran: a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled that the artifacts being kept at the Field Museum and at the University of Chicago were immune to seizure.

The case stems from a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that was carried out by Hamas.

Five US citizens injured in the attack won a $71.5 million civil judgment against Iran because it provided material support and training to Hamas.

Among the artifacts were a collection of 2,500-year-old clay tablets bearing ancient cuneiform script which have been in the care of the University of Chicago since the 1930s.

The victims also sought to seize a collection of artifacts at the Field Museum which were purchased in 1945 from German archeologist Ernst Herzfeld.

Iran does not claim ownership of the collection, but the victims have argued that they do in fact belong to Iran because Herzfeld stole them and smuggled them out of the country.

The issue will be heard by the US Supreme Court in its next annual session beginning in October.

 

Libya to investigate 'slave auction' footage

Iraq top court declares Kurd referendum unconstitutional

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

15 women killed in food aid crush in Morocco

Rare moments of joy at Arabs’ unprecedented World Cup qualifications

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues

Lebanon FM will not attend Arab League Iran summit

Syrian forces liberate Albu Kamal from IS

Israel votes to shut migrant centre, deport Africans

Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey discuss Syria

Libya to investigate ‘slave auction’ footage

Piece by piece, Iran moves towards a ‘new empire’

Netanyahu faces new questioning over corruption case

Syria troops, allies retake most of Albu Kamal from IS

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Paris

Egypt opens Gaza border for first time since unity deal

US-Russia rift threatens fragile prospects for Syria peace

'Caliphate' in tatters but IS still a threat

Saudi Arabia recalls ambassador to Berlin over Gabriel Lebanon comments

Russia again vetoes renewal of Syria gas attacks probe

UN weighs bid to save Syria gas attacks probe

IS attack kills 26 displaced people in Syria

Saudi FM says Lebanon 'held hostage by Hezbollah'

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days

Turkish troops pulled from NATO drill amid new tensions

Six children among civilians killed in shelling of Eastern Ghouta

US official calls on Sudan to stop 'church demolitions'

Hariri set to leave Saudi Arabia for France

Fears of bombs, IS cells still haunt Mosul

Iraq retakes Rawa, last town held by IS

Riyadh striking deals with people detained in anti-graft purge

Iran criticises French Mideast policy

Russia again blocks UN resolution on Syria action

Israel military chief says ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia

Egypt confirms death of wanted jihadist

UK denies link between citizen detained in Iran and £400m debt