Monday, April 03, 2006

More on Art as Litigation Tool

Today's New York Sun has more on the attempt to seize Persian antiquities as a way to enforce a terrorism-related federal court default judgment against Iran, which I alluded to briefly here:

Mr. Strachman represents five Americans who brought suit against Iran over a Hamas-led bombing on Jerusalem's Ben-Yehuda Street pedestrian mall in 1997. In 2003, a federal judge in Washington ordered Iranian agencies and officials to pay $97 million to the five plaintiffs, who suffered injuries in the bombing. As in the other cases, the Iranian defendants never showed up to contest the lawsuit. In 2004, the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute announced it was going to return to Iran 300 ancient tablets loaned to the university in 1937. ... Mr. Strachman caught wind of the impending return and swooped in, filing court papers to take possession of the artifacts, as well as other Persian treasures at the Field Museum. In December, a federal magistrate, Martin Ashman, ruled that neither the university nor the museum had standing to block the seizure of the Iranian property. He said Iran could object, but noted it has not made any effort to appear in the case.