Fort Hood Shooting: Hasan ‘sought maximum casualties’

Fort Hood Shooting: Hasan 'sought maximum casualties'
A former US Army psychiatrist who went on a rampage at an Army base in Texas in 2009 “killed as many soldiers as he could”, as his military trail got under way as said by a prosecutor.

Maj Nidal Hasan, 42, has admitted the shooting at Fort Hood that wounded more then 30 people and killed 13 of his comrades.

Maj Hasan, claims that he was protecting the Muslims and Taliban in Afghanistan, as he is trying defend himself.

The US-born Muslim could face a death penalty If convicted.

Prosecutor Col Steve Henricks said Maj Hasan deliberately targeted “unarmed, unsuspecting and defenseless soldiers” when he opened fire, this is when the court martial opened.

The killings are the deadliest ever non-combat attack on an American military base.

He will be charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts on attempted murder.

Judge Col Tara Osborn has already barred Maj Hasan’s “defense of others” argument, ruling there was no evidence the soldiers at the base posed any threat to the Taliban leadership – and declaring the justice of the US-led war in Afghanistan would not be up for debate in the court.

Col Osborn has also said he will not be able to make speeches about his beliefs or try to testify himself while questioning witnesses.

On 5 November 2009, Maj Hasan entered a crowded Fort Hood medical building where deploying soldiers were awaiting check-ups and vaccines, reported by witnesses.

He climbed onto a desk, shouted an Islamic benediction, and opened fire with two handguns, pausing only to reload, witnesses said.

His trial will take place at the same military base near Killeen, Texas, where he carried out the attacks.

A jury of 13 – three lieutenant colonels, nine colonels, and one major – will consider evidence in the case.

Maj Hasan was about to be deployed to Afghanistan when he carried out the attacks.

The Pentagon has treated the case as an act of workplace violence, rather than an act of terrorism, a legal distinction that has angered victims and family members, says the BBC’s Nick Bryant at Fort Hood.

Maj Hasan will be acting as own attorney as he will cross examine the wounded that has been attacked they are expected to testify against him.

Maj Hasan uses a wheelchair, whom was shot in the back by a base police sergeant who responded to the shootings.

The trial has been delayed by a series of requests for preparation or other issues, including an objection by prosecutors to Maj Hasan’s beard, which contravenes military regulations but he was ultimately allowed to keep.

The military prosecutors are being extra cautious in order to avoid anything that could lead to a reversal of a guilty verdict, reported by analysts.

If found guilty and sentenced to death, Maj Hasan would have multiple automatic appeals available to him. And even if those are ultimately unsuccessful it could be decades before any eventual execution.

The prosecution is expected to present evidence of the US-born soldier’s radicalization, including internet searches for “Jihad” and “Taliban” hours before the shootings.

Written By: Landi Bezuidenhout

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