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Army massacre major drops defence

The US major who killed 13 people in an army base shooting rampage has decided not to give evidence at his court martial or call any witnesses in his defence.

Nidal Hasan is representing himself. The case now heads to the 13 jurors, who are all military officers.

Hasan is accused of killing 13 people at the Fort Hood base in Texas. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Hasan has sat mostly silent during the trial. His court-appointed lawyers say he is trying to get a conviction and death sentence in an attempt at martyrdom.

The US-born Muslim has suggested that he wanted to argue the killings were in defence of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. A judge rejected that strategy.

Outside his trial, Hasan has been telling reporters his side of the attack, seemingly to justify it as a defence of his faith.

Military prosecutors have finished their case against Hasan, who is charged with numerous counts of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder.

Prosecution witnesses have described how a lone gunman wearing Army fatigues shouted "Allahu Akbar!" - Arabic for "God is great!" - before drawing a laser-sighted pistol and opening fire inside a medical building at the Army post on November 5, 2009. The building was crowded with unarmed soldiers, many preparing for deployments to Afghanistan.

He began the trial by telling jurors that evidence would show he was the gunman but that it would not tell the whole story.

One leaked report to the media showed that he told mental health experts after the attack that he believed he could be a martyr if convicted and executed by the government.


From Belfast Telegraph