A United States soldier walks past an Army poster advertising "Mental Strength For Life" at the Resiliency Center on Fort Hood Army post in Texas November 9, 2009.
Likely Maj. Hasan's reported awakening will be an awakening into his worst nightmare. He's alive. And there is not a single virgin in sight - maybe one or two - but not the 72 he had hoped for. For all those wondering about his mental condition - he may well be suffering from post traumatic stress entirely brought on by his failed jihadist revolt.
The future indeed looks grim for Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused Fort Hood gunman, who last week opened fire in a processing center on the base, killing 13. Hasan was injured by gunfire, but remains alive and under heavy guard at Fort Sam Houston. That means, of course, Hasan will presumably be prosecuted for his actions.
But what will the legal proceedings look like for Hasan? The Houston Chronicle attempts to answer the question in a story out Monday.
A key question concerning Hasan’s fate hinges on whether civilian prosecutors conclude he was part of a terrorist plot that might justify moving his case into the federal criminal courts under U.S. anti-terrorism laws. If prosecutors, on the other hand, determine that Hasan acted alone, he could face the death penalty in a military court-martial.
Regardless, it seems, it will take a while to administer Hasan’s case. First, Hasan will be subjected to assessments of his physical and mental health. And if a death sentence is handed down, appeals would likely follow. Numerous appeals that could take years — the military justice’s appeals process, writes the Chron, has effectively thrwarted all executions since 1961.
Perhaps what’s likely to occur, writes the Chron, is a court-martial under Article 2 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to punish offenses allegedly committed by a man wearing a U.S. military uniform against other military personnel on a military base. The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division is responsible for recommending charges, prompting the military equivalent of a grand jury, known as an Article 32 hearing, where both prosecutors and defense can present evidence.
Those results would be reviewed by the base commander, who would decide whether to convene a court-martial. The 12-person jury would be composed of officers higher in rank than Hasan – lieutenant colonels and above.
Hasan’s family is demanding that he be allowed to consult with a lawyer before speaking to investigators or mental health professionals. In a statement released to the news media on Saturday, Hasan’s brother Eyad declared that his family has “faith in our legal system and that my brother will be treated fairly.”
“We hope that the relevant authorities will provide us with information on my brother’s condition and that he be afforded his right to an attorney the moment he regains consciousness,” Eyad Hasan wrote.