Should photos of Al Qaeda terrorist group leader Osama bin Laden's body be made public? A federal appeals court panel is considering the question.
Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, argued Thursday that the government should release the photos under the Freedom of Information Act or provide specific reasons for denying the request, CNN reported.
A U.S. Justice Department lawyer said releasing the photos of bin Laden, killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in May 2011, would threaten national security by leading to retaliatory attacks against Americans. During the hearing, Judicial Watch's attorney questioned whether some of the less gruesome pictures like ones of Bin Laden's burial at sea could be released, CNN said.
A federal judge ruled in April against Judicial Watch's request to release the 52 bin Laden photos because of national security interests. The three judge panel on Thursday seemed skeptical to go against the decision, but did not say when they would rule, the article said.
"Why should we not defer to that?" asked Judge Merrick Garland at the hearing. "We are told there is a risk ... that Americans could die if the pictures are released."