When the Democratic Republic of Congo ran afoul of two court orders in Washington last year, a federal judge imposed a monetary sanction that doubled every month, topping out at $80,000 per week.

The fine has now grown to more than $2 million, and the Central African nation is looking for a way out on legal and foreign policy grounds. Congo’s attorneys have urged a federal appeals court in Washington to strike down the contempt order and erase the debt.

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