Major Nidal Hasan, who carried out a deadly mass shooting in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, hopes to get the death penalty, newly publicized documents have revealed.
Hasan’s long-delayed trial began last week. His trial was delayed in part because he fired his Army Defense lawyers and insisted on representing himself.
A judge agreed to allow Hasan to represent himself, but insisted that the lawyers stay on as advisers. However, the lawyers are appealing that decision, arguing that for moral reasons, they cannot support Hasan in what they say is a bid to die.
During the hearing on their appeal, attorney John P. Galligan, one of Hasan’s former representatives, revealed pages from the minutes of the military “sanity board” that determined that Hasan was fit to stand trial – pages he says show that Hasan has a death wish. The newly revealed pages show that Hasan is actively seeking death at the hands of the government, he explained.
“I’m paraplegic and could be in jail for the rest of my life. However, if I died by lethal injection I would still be a martyr,” the pages quoted Hasan as telling the panel.
He had previously told the panel that he wished he had been killed during the shooting attack, because it would have meant he had been chosen for martyrdom.
Hasan is a U.S.-born Muslim who identifies as Palestinian. He has told the court that he opened fire on fellow U.S. soldiers at the Fort Hood base, killing 13, because he had come to believe that the Taliban, not America, was in the right.
The shooting “was for the greater cause of helping my Muslim brothers,” Hasan told the “sanity panel.” He made similar statements in court last week, saying, “War is an ugly thing… I was on the wrong side, but I switched sides… We are imperfect Muslims trying to establish the perfect religion.”
Hasan denied having a death wish, but was unable to continue due to the end of the court session.