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I am the shooter: Fort Hood accused

The US army psychiatrist who faces the death penalty for a 2009 shooting rampage at a Texas military base has told jurors: "The evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter."

Major Nidal Malik Hasan began his court martial with opening statements that lasted less than two minutes. He told jurors: "The evidence presented during the trial will only show one side."

The 42-year-old had wanted to argue that he shot US troops to protect Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, but the judge forbade the American-born Muslim from using that defence.

Hasan was shot in the back during the rampage at Fort Hood and was paralysed from the waist down.

The US army medic is charged with killing 13 people and wounding 32 others. He is representing himself at his court martial, which is expected to last several weeks.

Hasan does not deny committing one of the worst mass shootings in American history but was forbidden to plead guilty under military law because he faces the death penalty - a rare punishment in the military.

The last execution in the US military justice system was 1961.

A long row of shipping freight containers, stacked three high, created a makeshift fence around the courthouse on the first day of the trial.

Hasan last week renounced his US citizenship, saying it was not "permissible" for someone to prefer American democracy over traditional Islamic sharia law.

Hasan wrote that Muslims should not "compromise their beliefs" for the sake of non-Muslims.

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From Belfast Telegraph