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Judge Wants Ft. Hood Killer Forcibly Shaved for Trial

Thu, August 23, 2012

With the trial of Major Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood killer, on indefinite hold because of Hasan’s beard, military attorneys told a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forcess that a military judge has the right to order a defendant’s beard forcibly shaved.

The military judge presiding over Hasan’s trial has refused to go forward with Hasan in the courtroom with a beard. The case as to whether or not Hasan can be forcibly shaved is now being heard in the appeals court.

Hasan claims he grew his beard for religious reasons, however, beards are against army regulations. The military judge in Hasan’s trial, Col. Gregory Gross, says "that a military trial proceeds without a distracting and disruptive sideshow featuring an officer accused of flagrantly disrespecting the army, his superiors and the military judge."

Because of the beard, Gross has banned Hasan from the courtroom since the trial began in June. Instead, he allowed him to watch the proceedings on a closed-circuit television in different room. However, Gross wants Hasan present during the court-martial so his absence will not leave a loophole for Hasan to appeal if he is convicted.

Gross wants Hasan forcibly shaved. Gross’ attorneys argued, "Forced shaving is not a novel concept in the military. Army regulations expressly authorize nonconsensual haircutting and face-shaving for recalcitrant incarcerated soldiers ... If the judge has authority to bind and gag a disruptive accused (soldier), then certainly he has authority to forcibly shave (Hasan)."

While shouting Allah Akbar, Hasan went on a shooting rampage at Ft. Hood in 2009, killing 13.