Washington: Heavily redacted official US military documents reveal that Osama bin Laden was given a complete Islamic burial after being killed by US forces in a daring raid at his Abbottabad hideout in Pakistan last year.
These documents have been obtained by Washington-based Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) and were released to the press on Monday.
The al Qaeda leader was reportedly transported by the USS Carl Vinson and buried at sea in accordance with Muslim law.
"Traditional procedures for Islamic burial were (sic) followed. The body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker.
"After words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flatboard, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body slid into the sea," said the relevant portion of the 31-page document.
According to Judicial Watch, the documents did not include the "prepared religious remarks" read at bin Laden's burial as requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The US Navy told Judicial Watch, in a letter accompanying the documents, that a search did not produce any documents in response to the request for the "remarks".
If US Navy regulations were followed, the remarks could have included the Muslim prayer, "O Allah, forgive him, have mercy on him, pardon him, grant him security, provide him a nice place and spacious lodging, wash him (off from his sins) with water, snow, and ice, purify him... make him enter paradise and save him from the trials of grave and the punishment of hell".
The emails indicated that "less than a dozen" members of military leadership were informed of the burial and that "No sailors watched".
The documents suggest that preparations for receipt of bin Laden's body were considered three days before the raid, the Judicial Watch said.
"These new documents confirm the honours given bin Laden at his burial, including a prayer in Arabic and ritual cleansing of his remains," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton.
"But the American people still don't have the full picture because the Obama administration is fearful of offending terrorists," he said.
Judicial Watch alleged that the documents supplied to it by the US Navy also failed to include the bin Laden post-mortem photos and videos as requested in its FOIA request.
The Obama administration continues to withhold these records citing national security concerns, it said.