Survivors of the Fort Hood terrorist attack are suing the U.S. government for allowing a jihadist soldier to rise through the ranks unchecked because of ‘political correctness’.
Major Nidal Hasan, 42, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder for after launching an attack at the Texas Army post in November 2009.
And on the eve of his trial, which is due to get underway on Tuesday, 148 victims and their relatives are launching a legal claim against the government for $750 million for failing to prevent the killings from happening.
Reed Rubinstein, the lawyer acting for the group, told the Sunday Telegraph that Major Hasan was awarded ‘preferential treatment’ because of his ‘ethnicity and his religion’.
He said: ‘The rules on the conduct of military officers were ignored. He was a terrible physician and had no business treating soldiers.
‘Yet, because of where he came from, and how he prayed to his god, they promoted him and set him loose and ignored his open, very obvious jihadism.’
Mr Rubenstein added that the group wanted the government to meet ‘its responsibilities to those harmed by its negligence’ over Major Hasan.
Major Hasan doesn’t deny that he carried out the November 2009 rampage at Fort Hood, one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
The attack occurred in a building where hundreds of unarmed soldiers, some about to deploy to Afghanistan, were waiting for vaccines and routine checkups.
Hasan walked inside with two handguns, climbed onto a desk and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar!’ – an Arabic phrase meaning ‘God is great!’ – then he fired, pausing only to reload.
There are dozens of witnesses who saw it happen but military law prohibits him from entering a guilty plea because authorities are seeking the death penalty.
If Hasan is convicted and sentenced to death there are likely years, if not decades, of appeals ahead. He may never make it to the death chamber at all.
Ahead of his trial, Hasan spoke to the American media for the first time last week and said that the U.S. government is at war with Islam.
In the past, Major Nidal Hasan has only spoken via telephone with Al-Jazeera, the transcript of which is evidence in his upcoming trial.
‘My complicity was on behalf of a government that openly acknowledges that it would hate for the law of Almighty Allah to be the supreme law of the land,’ Hasan said in the lengthy statement released to Fox News on Saturday.
He then says in reference to a war on Islam, ‘I participated in it.’
‘I would like to begin by repenting to Almighty Allah and apologize to the Mujahideen, the believers, and the innocent. … I ask for their forgiveness for participating in the illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims, their religion and their lands,’ he said in the statement.
He has twice dismissed his lawyers and now plans to represent himself at trial. He’s suggested he wants to argue the killings were in ‘defense of others’ – namely, members of the Taliban fighting Americans in Afghanistan. The trial judge, Col. Tara Osborn, has so far denied that strategy.
Thirteen officers from around the country who hold Hasan’s rank or higher will serve on the jury for a trial that will likely last one month and probably longer. They must be unanimous to convict Hasan of murder and sentence him to death. Three-quarters of the panel must vote for an attempted murder conviction.
No active-duty U.S. soldier has been executed since 1961.
The last man executed in the military system was Pvt. John Bennett, hanged in 1961 for raping an 11-year-old girl. Five men are on the military death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, but none are close to being executed.
[youtube oyr1SG5B11I#at=74 nolink]