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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Appeals Court Reverses Habeas Decision

Yesterday, March 29, 2011, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision  to release Yemeni detainee Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, who has been held at Guantanamo since 2002.

Late last year, a lower court judge ruled that the government had not shown that Uthman was a member of al Qaeda and ordered Uthman released. The Court of Appeals reversed that decision, writing that the facts before the court “are more than sufficient to show Uthman more likely than not was part of al Qaeda.”

The Associated Press reports “Uthman’s account piles coincidence upon coincidence upon coincidence,” the court wrote. “Here, as with the liable or guilty party in any civil or criminal case, it remains possible that Uthman was innocently going about his business and just happened to show up in a variety of extraordinary places — a kind of Forrest Gump in the war against al-Qaida. But Uthman’s account at best strains credulity, and the far more likely explanation for the plethora of damning circumstantial evidence is that he was part of al-Qaida.”

For the full text of the Associated Press article, click below:

Appeals Court Overturns Release of Gitmo Detainee (AP)

Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare writes that this opinion

“means that to prevail in a habeas case, the government does not need to produce direct evidence of anything. In the many cases–and there are many of them–in which there is little more than a suspicious pattern of travel and associations, it has merely to argue convincingly that those patterns are more likely to be the result of membership than they are of coincidence. (Blogger's emphasis added). Many fewer detainees will prevail under this understanding of the government’s evidentiary burden than would prevail under one less tolerant of a mosaic of incriminating facts.”

For the full text of Wittes's remarks, click below:

Thoughts on Uthman (Lawfare blog)

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