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July 27, 2012

Judicial Watch seeks bin Laden burial info

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Judicial Watch said Thursday it has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Navy for information about the burial at sea of Osama bin Laden.

The organization said it filed the FOIA suit July 18 for records detailing "any funeral ceremony, rite or ritual" for bin Laden before his burial at sea. The leader of terrorist group al-Qaida, responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, was killed May 2, 2011, by Navy SEALs in a raid on his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound.

Bin Laden "was reportedly transported by the USS Carl Vinson and buried at sea in accordance with Muslim law," Judicial Watch said in a statement. "If U.S. Navy regulations were followed, the burial would have included a prayer to 'Allah' to make bin Laden 'enter paradise and save him from the trials of grave and the punishment of hell.'"

The group said it is seeking "any and all records utilized, referenced, or relied upon during the preparation and execution of any funeral ceremony, rite or ritual for Osama bin Laden on the USS Carl Vinson prior to his burial at sea. This request includes, but is not limited to, the text of any prepared remarks or prayers, any instructions provided to those in attendance, or any instructions or guidance regarding the handling of bin Laden's remains."

The FOIA suit also seeks "any and all records of communication between any official or employee of the Department of the Navy and any official or employee of any other government department, agency or office regarding any funeral ceremony, rite or ritual for Osama bin Laden prior to his burial at sea."

President Barack Obama "is playing politics with bin Laden's death and ignoring the rule of law -- especially the transparency laws that his appointees violate with impunity," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. "I suspect the Obama administration is embarrassed by the burial ceremony, which explains our having to go to court to get basic information about this important piece of history."

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