Court: Bin Laden's photos can stay secret

2013-05-21 19:28


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Washington - A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the US government had properly classified top secret more than 50 images of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden taken after his death and that the government did not need to release them.

The unanimous ruling by three judges on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a request for the images by a conservative non-profit watchdog group.

Judicial Watch sued for photographs and video from the May 2011 raid in which US special forces killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after more than a decade of searching.

The organisation's lawsuit relied on the Freedom of Information Act, a 1966 law that guarantees public access to some government documents.

In an unsigned opinion, the appeals court accepted an assertion from President Barack Obama's administration that the images are so potent that releasing them could cause riots that would put Americans abroad at risk.

The images show a dead bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan, the transportation of his body to a US ship and his burial at sea, the government has said.

Some of the photographs were taken so the CIA could conduct facial recognition analysis to confirm the body's identity, according to court papers.

Read more on:    osama bin laden  |  us  |  security

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