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Fort Hood massacre accused has hospital hearing

22 November 09 02:54 GMT

The army psychiatrist charged over the Fort Hood army base massacre in Texas has had his first court hearing - in a hospital room where he is recovering.

A military magistrate ruled that Major Nidal Hasan must remain for now in the military hospital at San Antonio.

He faces 13 counts of murder over the 5 November shootings at the base. More than two dozen others were injured.

Maj Hasan's lawyer told AP news agency his client, who is in intensive care, had been advised he is paralysed.

He was shot by civilian members of Fort Hood's police force during the incident.

Saturday's hearing came amid reports Maj Hasan had stepped up correspondence with a radical cleric before the attack.

'Politically correct'

E-mails obtained by the FBI showed the accused had begun to discuss secret financial transfers with Yemen-based al-Qaeda sympathiser Anwar al-Awlaki, according to the Washington Post.

It has emerged that at least 18 e-mails between Maj Hasan, a US-born Muslim, and Mr al-Awlaki had been intercepted by federal investigators.

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin said on Friday he would investigate why those communications were not passed on to military officials.

FBI and military officials have provided differing accounts of why the e-mails apparently did not reach army investigators before the shooting.

Arizona Senator John McCain told AP news agency on Saturday he believed "political correctness" had played a role in preventing concerns about Maj Hasan being acted upon.

Mr al-Awlaki, who was released from a Yemeni jail last year, was once an imam at the mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, where Maj Hasan and his family occasionally worshipped.

He now runs a website denouncing US policy. It has praised Maj Hasan's alleged actions at Fort Hood as heroic.

Meanwhile, Maj Hasan's civilian lawyer, John Galligan, said his client, had been told he is permanently paralysed.

Mr Galligan told AP news agency Maj Hasan - who is under guard - had no feeling from the chest down and limited movement in his arms.

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