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UN special rapporteurs on executions want full statement of facts on Bin Laden killing

Human rights experts from the UN Commission for Human Rights [official website] on Friday called on the US to disclose further details [press release] on the killing of al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] leader Osama Bin Laden [WP obituary; JURIST news archive]. Special Rapporteurs Christof Heyns and Martin Scheinin [official websites] are seeking more information in order "to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards. For instance it will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden." The request comes a day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] also insisted on "a full disclosure of the accurate facts" surrounding the killing of Bin Laden [JURIST report]. The White House has altered the official account [press briefing] of the killing since US President Barack Obama [official profile] first announced [statement] that a small team of US military personnel attacked a compound in which Bin Laden had been hiding, killing Bin Laden [JURIST report] and taking possession of his body. The Obama administration now maintains that Bin Laden was unarmed when killed, despite earlier statements that he had fired on US forces.

As founder and leader of al Qaeda, Bin Laden represents the highest profile terror target captured or killed by the US. US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] said Wednesday that the killing of Bin Laden by US forces on Sunday was lawful and justified [JURIST report]. Testifying before the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], Holder said that the shooting of Bin Laden was "consistent with our values," and that the soldiers who killed him "conducted themselves totally appropriately." In April, Holder announced that the priorities of the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] will include protecting Americans from terrorism [JURIST report] at home and abroad, fighting violent crime, combating financial fraud and protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

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