Fort Hood suspect's beard raises bias questions

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Associated Press

Posted on October 11, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 11 at 4:34 PM

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (AP) — An Army appeals court in Virginia is questioning whether the Fort Hood shooting suspect can be forcibly shaved.

Judges on the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals also delved Thursday into a claim by Maj. Nidal Hasan's (nih-DAHL' hah-SAHN') lawyers that the judge who issued the order is biased and should be replaced.

Hasan's murder trial in Texas is on hold for the appeal stemming from his refusal to shave. The American-born Muslim psychiatrist says he grew the whiskers for religious reasons. Army rules prohibit beards but allow for religious exceptions.

Military judge Col. Gregory Gross has rejected Hasan's religious arguments. He ordered him forcibly shaved unless he shaves himself.

Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 attack that killed 13 people at the Texas Army post.

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Angela K. Brown in Fort Worth, Texas, contributed to this report.

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