Judge fines Russia for not returning Chabad collection

Judge fines Russia for not returning Chabad collection

US State Department opposed penalty, saying it will set back a deal on the contested religious materials

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge is fining Russia $50,000 a day for refusing to return a historic books and documents to Chabad.

Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the US District Court issued the order Wednesday, a week after a hearing on the case. It was made over the objection of the Justice Department, which argued that fines wouldn’t help resolve the dispute and in fact would be counterproductive.

Lamberth had previously ruled the records were unlawfully possessed by the Russian State Library and the Russian military archive. In 2010, he ordered Russia to turn them over to the US Embassy in Moscow or to the Jewish group’s representative.

Russia refused to comply, and it’s not clear Moscow will respond now. The Russian Embassy didn’t immediately respond to an email.

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