Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Fort Hood shooting trial set to begin

06 August 2013, 13:29

Washington - Opening arguments are slated to begin on Tuesday in the court martial of Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan, who faces 13 counts of murder in a 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

Hasan, aged 42, faces the death penalty if convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the shooting spree on 5 November 2009, at Fort Hood as soldiers were preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. If convicted, he could be the first active-duty US soldier to receive the death penalty since 1961.

Hasan, who was shot by police officers during the attack and is paralysed from the waist down as a result, is to represent himself for the duration of the trial. Because Hasan is serving as his own lawyer, victims who will be called to testify in the case will be put in the unusual position of being questioned by their accused attacker.

On Monday, the military judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, questioned the 13-member jury of senior officers, which said it remained impartial.

Hasan had sought to plead guilty to the charges, but military legal rules do not allow guilty pleas for charges that carry the death penalty.

In documents sent to Fox News ahead of the trial, Hasan claimed he must renounce his US citizenship and his military oath to defend the US Constitution "over the commandments mandated in Islam".

Home-grown terrorism or workplace violence?

He had sought to claim during pre-trial hearings that the attack was carried out in defence of Taliban forces in Afghanistan, but the judge has said he could not use the defence in court.

Military prosecutors are expected to point to internet searches about the Taliban and jihad conducted by Hasan to show the US-born Muslim had become radicalised. Osborn told prosecutors they cannot use e-mails between Hasan and radial cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Hasan, in the documents sent to Fox News, called al-Awlaki "my teacher, mentor and friend. I hold him in high esteem for trying to educate Muslims about their duties to our creator. May all-mighty Allah accept his martyrdom".

Al-Awlaki was killed in a 2011 US drone strike in Yemen.

Osborn has not yet ruled on whether prosecutors can discuss other evidence that points to his radicalisation, such as an academic presentation he made in defence of suicide bombing.

It remained unclear whether the attack would be portrayed in court as home-grown terrorism or work-place violence.

A group of victims have accused the government of downplaying terrorist nature of the attack and have separately sued the Pentagon for not doing enough to prevent the shooting.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...