Thursday Jan 10, 201310:59 AM GMT
US lawsuit challenges secrecy on images of assassinated bin Laden
Images of newspapers reporting assassination of Osama bin Laden by US forces (file photo)
Images of newspapers reporting assassination of Osama bin Laden by US forces (file photo)
Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:51AM
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A US court is to reconsider a lawsuit for release of photos of Osama bin Laden, allegedly taken following his 2011 assassination in Pakistan by intruding American military forces.


A federal appeals court will review on Thursday whether the public has a right to view images of the killed al-Qaeda leader and his sea burial, which have been held as secret documents by the US government based on “national security interests,” The Washington Post reports.

The lawsuit, filed by watchdog group Judicial Watch, seeks the release of 52 photos that US military forces have allegedly taken after their operation in May 2011.

According to the report, the US government argues, and a lower court judge has agreed, that the photographic images must remain classified “in the interest of national security” since some “defense and intelligence officials” express concern in court documents that publication of the images would likely “incite violence against Americans.”

In its legal plea to reverse the lower court ruling, Judicial Watch “argues that the exemption the government cites to the Freedom of Information Act is too vague.” The daily reports.

US President Barack Obama declared the successful military raid on bin Laden’s compound last May and released a description of his alleged burial in the North Arabian Sea. He claimed at the time that photos were taken and that “facial analysis” was used to confirm bin Laden’s identity.

Meanwhile in April 2012, the report adds, US District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the images would remain classified, underlining that he found explanations offered by national security officials about the possible risk of “grave harm to our future national security is more than mere speculation.”

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