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Fort Hood soldier 'still a martyr'

The US Army psychiatrist on trial over the 2009 shooting rampage at the Fort Hood military base told mental health experts after the attack that he "would still be a martyr" if convicted and executed by the government, according to newly released documents.

The remarks by Major Nidal Hasan in 2010 were published by the New York Times as military lawyers ordered to help him during his trial, which continues at the Texas base, insist that he wants jurors to sentence him to death.

Hasan told a panel of mental health experts that he wished he had been killed in the attack because it would have meant God had chosen him for martyrdom, according to documents given to the newspaper by Hasan's former lead attorney.

The American-born Muslim was left paralysed from the waist down after Fort Hood police officers ended the rampage by shooting him in the back.

"I'm paraplegic and could be in jail for the rest of my life," Hasan told the panel, according to the documents. "However, if I died by lethal injection, I would still be a martyr."

The documents, part of a report that concluded Hasan was fit to stand trial, were given to the newspaper by John Galligan, who now serves as Hasan's civil attorney after his client dismissed him from the criminal case two years ago.

The statements he made in 2010, a year after the attack, were contained in a 49-page report of a military panel known as a sanity board, according to the New York Times. Mr Galligan said Army prosecutors were given a summary of the report but had not seen the newly released pages, according to the newspaper.

Hasan told the panel he denied having remorse. He justified his actions by saying that the soldiers he killed were "going against the Islamic Empire", according to the Times.

"I don't think what I did was wrong because it was for the greater cause of helping my Muslim brothers," Hasan told the panel.

Hasan, 42, is acting as his own lawyer but has sat mostly silent as witnesses described a bloody, chaotic scene and identified him as the gunman. That enabled prosecutors to get through more than 60 witnesses in only four days.

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