US says no to sanctions against Russia in Chabad case

05 Sep 2012 12:10 PM | Anonymous

US says no to sanctions against Russia in Chabad case
Government statement says monetary fines would be contrary to foreign policy interests
By Laura Gilbert. Web only
Published online: 04 September 2012

 Just said no: the Department of Justice has filed a statement denying sanctions against Russia in response to its art embargo
The Obama administration has asked a federal court to stay out of US foreign and Russian internal affairs in the seven-year-old case brought against Russia by the Jewish sect Chabad. The government’s statement of interest leaves Chabad with what appears to be an unenforceable judgment.

The Department of Justice urged the federal District Court in Washington, DC, not to impose monetary sanctions against Russia, in a statement filed with the court on 29 August. The statement said that sanctions requested by the Jewish sect Chabad “would be contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States”, impermissible under US law and, since Russia would be sanctioned for failing to perform an act within its own territory, “entirely without precedent internationally”.

In the underlying litigation, Chabad is seeking two separate collections of books and manuscripts held in Moscow. After Russia abandoned the case in 2009, a US court issued a default judgment against it in July 2010. That judgment ordered Russia “to surrender [the collections] to the United States Embassy in Moscow or to the duly appointed representatives of [Chabad]”. Russia refused.

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