- (Photo: Reuters/Bell County Sheriff's Office/Handout)
The lawyer of U.S. Major Nidal Hasan, sentenced to death for the murder of 13 people, is planning on suing the military for forcefully shaving his beard, which goes against practices in the Muslim faith.
"Forcibly shaving him after a military council approved the beard for the duration of the trial smacks of retaliation by Army officials. This was a vindictive act," John Galligan, Hasan's former civilian lawyer, shared with ABCNews.com on Wednesday.
Although no new photos of Hasan have been released since he was transferred to the military's death row at the U.S. Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, authorities have reportedly confirmed that a videotape of the forced shaving exists, as per military regulations.
"Inmate Hasan has been shaved," Army spokesman Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt said in a statement, though he did not provide further insight into the situation.
Hasan was allowed to keep his beard during the military trial that found him guilty of 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted murder in an attack at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas in November 2009.
Military judge Col. Gregory Gross had initially ordered Hasan to be shaved in the early stages of the trial, but an appeals process by the major arguing that that would violate his religious rights was at the end successful. Gross was then replaced by Col. Tara Osborn as judge, who allowed Hasan to keep his beard.
The former major, who served as a psychiatrist, has explained that he carried out the attack in order to protect Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and prosecutors found evidence that he had prepared for weeks for the attack by buying a gun and practicing on a range. During the attack he was shot by a civilian police officer, which has paralyzed him from the chest down.
Hasan now joins five other military prisoners currently on death row, though a military execution has not been carried out since 1961.