On Thursday, according to CNN, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C. considered the public release of Osama bin Laden’s photos in which his body was photographed after being shot to death by Navy SEAL 6 in May of 2011.
A conservative legal group known as Judicial Watch fought for the release of the photos before a panel of three judges, claiming that the Freedom of Information Act requires the photos be released. The argument states that the government needs to explain how the photos would be damaging to the United States’ national security if they were, in fact, released – as the U.S. government has claimed in not releasing the photos up to now.
There are allegedly 52 images of Osama bin Laden that were taken after his being killed, taken on the USS Carl Vinson ship. Michael Bekesha, the lawyer representing the Judicial Watch organization, argued before the panel that photographs of Osama bin Laden being buried at sea would not harm national security. Bekesha, however, did not make the same assertion regarding the photos taken moments after the attack in Abbottabad, the compound where Osama bin Laden was murdered in Pakistan.
Robert Loeb who spoke on the United States’ government’s behalf said that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that Osama bin Laden’s body was not treated in accordance with Muslim traditions for the purpose of inflaming tensions in the Muslim community.
The debates surrounding the release of the photos continue, even though Federal Judge James Boasberg ruled in April of 2012 that a verbal description of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden would have to suffice. The process of resolving the issue has recommenced with the panel’s hearing.