On Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces issued an order indefinitely postponing the court martial of Nidal Hasan, the Army major charged with the Ft. Hood shootings. In its order, the court offered very little explanation for its decision other than to say that the proceedings were to be continued “pending further review of the court.”
Following last week’s decision by the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals (a lower appeals court) that the government could forcibly shave off Hasan’s beard, the defense lawyers announced they would be filing an appeal. The saga of the beard has worked the effect of delaying the trial on the merits of the serious charges pending against the former psychiatrist.
On December 2009, Army prosecutors charged Hasan with 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with the victims wounded in his armed rampage at Ft. Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009.
Among those injured by Hasan were the two civilian police officers who eventually fired on Hasan and brought him down, ending the massacre. These lesser charges are in addition to the 13 counts of murder with which the former army psychiatrist and alleged jihadist was charged.
On the day of the shooting spree, Hasan reportedly entered the center for soldiers awaiting deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, brandished two pistols, and climbed on a table and opened fire. Then, targeting first those in uniform, Hasan shouted “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is Great.”
Federal investigators claim that Hasan’s “militancy” was influenced by the late American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. President Obama placed Awlaki on his infamous (and illegal) kill list and on September 30, 2011, while Awlaki was eating breakfast in Yemen, two unmanned Predator drones fired two Hellfire missiles, killing him.
If convicted, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) provides for a death sentence in Hasan’s case.
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Photo of Major Nidal Hasan: AP Images