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Key Deletions in the Uthman Trial Court Opinions

Earlier this year, Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ordered the release of Guantanamo detainee Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman. After Kennedy’s judicial opinion was added to the court file, it quickly vanished and was replaced weeks later by a second, entirely different opinion. As part of our investigation into what happened and what was revealed, we compared the two opinions to see what was altered. Below is a quick guide to some of the most significant deletions we found.

What Was Deleted Why It Matters See It
Descriptions of intelligence documents reviewed in the Uthman case by the Court Described as "crucial pieces of evidence," each intelligence document's definition includes the type of information found in that document as well as which department or government agency offered it.
p. 4
An entire paragraph describing psychological evaluations that found a witness, Abd Al Hakim Abd Al Karim Amin Bukhari, to be "psychotic" and why the Court would not rely on his statements was deleted. Although the Court found inconsistencies in Bukhari's testimony, it also rejected the evidence because of Bukhari's mental health.
p. 12
An entire footnote revealing that the government had presented a competing psychiatric evaluation of the witness Bukhari that determined he had psychiatric symptoms Even the government's own psychiatrist found Bukhari "'more likely' than a member of the general population 'to be dishonest in the future'" as well as "no more likely to lie than a member of the 'incarcerated population, in which personality disorders and manipulative behaviors are much more frequent."
p. 12
The exact date, location and circumstances of when Uthman was taken into custody By altering Uthman's arrest location from "in or near Parachinar, Pakistan" to "the general vicinity of Tora Bora," the opinion links Uthman more closely to the retreat of Osama bin Laden and his inner circle through Tora Bora.
p. 13
An entire footnote revealing that there are discrepancies within the government's own reporting on the location where Uthman was seized The footnote indicates that the government isn't even clear on the location of Uthman's seizure. It also shows that the government's own record supports that Uthman was taken into custody either "in the city of Parachinar" or "somewhere at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the vicinity of Parachinar" and not in the vicinity of Tora Bora.
p. 13
The reference to a Defense Intelligence Agency report on current and former detainees who allegedly fought at Tora Bora The Defense Intelligence Agency report states that "approximately 300 current or former Guantanamo Bay detainees participated in the fighting at Tora Bora." Since the report says "former" detainees and there are currently fewer than 200 detainees at Guantanamo, the report would suggest the United States freed actual fighters in the battle of Tora Bora.
p. 13
Evidence that corroborates Uthman's claims that he was in Khost and not Tora Bora before being seized The rewritten opinion conceals unrebutted evidence strengthening Uthman's claims that he was nowhere near Tora Bora.
p. 14
The ISN of Abdul Rahman Ma'ath Thafir al Amri, a detainee who committed suicide at Guantanamo in 2007 The ISN, or internment serial number, reveals that the government offered inconsistent evidence from a detainee who had committed suicide in 2007.
p. 14
A description of an alleged al Qaeda guesthouse located in Kabul in the home By deleting this passage in the rewritten opinion as well as subsequent passages mentioning his testimony, Salim Hamdan disappears from the case against Uthman even though the Court ruled that his statement "should not be entirely disregarded."
p. 15
Two descriptions of unrebutted evidence that Uthman offered in his defense The judge weighed unrebutted evidence offered by Uthman in his defense demonstrating that an alias allegedly belonging to him was in fact used by others.
p. 16
A sentence describing how the government sought to alter the evidence provided by one of its own witnesses The government sought to alter the meaning of their own witness's testimony.
p. 17