A U.S. military tribunal has opened a hearing to consider if there is enough evidence to try an Army psychiatrist for a deadly shooting at a Texas military base last year.

The hearing involving Major Nidal Malik Hasan is being held at the Fort Hood Army base, the site of the November 2009 attack that killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.

Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder. He could face the death penalty.

The tribunal is expected to hear dozens of defense and prosecution witnesses, including those wounded in the attack. The proceeding, which is similar to a civilian grand jury or preliminary hearing, could last more than a month.

Hasan, who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot during the attack, is expected to appear at the hearing.

Witnesses say they heard Hasan shout “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” just before he opened fire on a group of soldiers preparing for their deployments.

The officer has been linked to radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is based in Yemen.

A U.S. Defense Department investigation after the shootings said the Pentagon was not prepared for internal threats and recommended that the military officers who supervised the suspected gunman be held accountable.

Source: VOA News

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