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Journalist Jason Rezaian. Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Iranian government to pay journalist Jason Rezaian $180 million in damages for his 18-month detention, saying he was used as leverage in diplomatic talks with the U.S. in 2014, the Washington Post reports.

Flashback: Rezaian was a Washington Post correspondent in Tehran when Iranian authorities took him and his wife into custody amid U.S.-Iran nuclear talks. While she was released two months thereafter, Rezaian was let go in Jan. 2016 as part of a prisoner swap between the two nations on the same day the nuclear agreement was implemented.

The big picture: The lawsuit was brought under a “terrorism exception” to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The law that typically bans Americans from suing foreign governments in domestic cases with exceptions made for nations designated by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism, the Post explains.

What he's saying: U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon of Washington justified the large sum of the damages, saying it aimed to prevent Americans from being held hostage. “Holding a man hostage and torturing him to gain leverage in negotiations with the United States is outrageous, deserving of punishment, and surely in need of deterrence,” he wrote in his opinion, per the Post.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.

Supreme Court declines to hear case on qualified immunity for police officers

The Supreme Court on March 5. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal for a lawsuit brought against Cleveland police officers that challenges the scope of qualified immunity, the legal doctrine which has been used to shield officers from lawsuits alleging excessive force, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The doctrine has been the subject of scrutiny from civil rights advocates. Eliminating qualified immunity was one of the key demands of demonstrators during nationwide protests in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd.