SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Army Major Nidal Hasan, who is awaiting trial accused of a November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas that left 13 people dead, was hospitalized at the post over the weekend.
“He was taken from his cell to Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood,” Chris Haug, chief of post media relations said on Monday. Hasan was hospitalized on Saturday.
He said the nature of Hasan’s medical issue is protected by patient privacy laws. Hasan is paralyzed from the chest down due to wounds he suffered when he was shot by Fort Hood civilian security police during the shooting. He is housed in a specially built hospital cell in a county jail about 20 miles from the courthouse at Fort Hood. He has appeared in court in a wheelchair.
John Galligan, who was Hasan’s civilian defense lawyer until last year, has said Hasan suffers from a variety of ailments related to the shooting, including an inability to regulate his body temperature. Hasan was hospitalized for three months following the incident.
The hospitalization comes as two separate military courts are deliberating whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law passed in 1993, allows Hasan to wear a beard in the courtroom. The Act requires that the federal government take steps to protect a person’s ability to freely practice religion.
Hasan, a Muslim, has been held in contempt of court five times and removed from the courtroom after the presiding judge ruled that a full beard he grew in June violates Army grooming regulations. He has threatened to order Hasan to be “forcibly shaved” before his court martial begins.
Editing by Greg McCune, Doina Chiacu