Government watchdog group Judicial Watch announced a lawsuit on Thursday against the United States Navy for failing to hand over records pertaining to any funeral ceremony, rite or ritual for Osama bin Laden prior to his burial at sea.
The al-Qaida leader’s carcass was reportedly dumped into the sea from the USS Carl Vinson within 24 hours of his May 2, 2011 death at the hands of a Navy SEALs team. In accordance with Muslim law and Navy regulations, the burial should have included a prayer requesting that Allah permit bin Laden to “enter paradise” and “save him from the trials of grave and the punishment of hell.”
It was reported the burial was conducted by a Muslim seaman who said the appropriate prayer and made sure the corpse was washed and wrapped in the appropriate cloth.
According to a press release, Judicial Watch issued a Freedom of Information Act request for records detailing bin Laden’s burial, and any correspondence between the Department of the Navy and any other government official regarding any ritual, rite or funeral ceremony for bin Laden prior to his burial at sea.
Although the Department of the Navy acknowledged receiving the FOIA request, Judicial Watch has yet to receive any information.
“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,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “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.”
The lawsuit against the Navy joins a list of other suits Judicial Watch has filed against the Obama administration. In 2011 the organization filed a FOIA request for pictures and videos of bin Laden’s dead body, but a judge blocked access to the records on April 26, 2012.
Judicial Watch also sued the administration and CIA for access to communications between movie producer Kathryn Bigelow and the White House. Judicial Watch did obtain the records, unveiling the administrations’ plans to provide Bigelow and fellow producer Mark Boal access to classified information about the bin Laden raid in preparation for a film about the operation.