Fort Hood massacre suspect Major Nidal Hasan in court

Nidal Malik Hasan in 2007 (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences) Maj Hasan was left paralysed after being shot by security guards

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A US Army psychiatrist accused of murdering 13 of his colleagues at the Fort Hood base in Texas has appeared in court for the first time.

Maj Nidal Hasan is also charged with attempting to kill 32 others during a shooting rampage last November.

The officer - paralysed after security guards shot him - sat in a wheelchair, wearing his army uniform in court.

A judge must decide whether he is fit to stand trial. If convicted, the 39-year-old could face the death sentence.

Security was increased at the courtroom as the officer manoeuvred his wheelchair into the venue.

He sat quietly for most of the hearing, answering questions with a soft "yes, sir".

Maj Hasan's defence team won a delay in proceedings until 4 October, having argued that they needed more documents, including FBI files on his alleged contact with a radical Islamic cleric in Yemen months before the shootings.

It was the second hearing in the case, the first having been conducted from Maj Hasan's hospital room.

The officer must undergo a mental evaluation before any trial. Prosecutors have not yet announced if they will seek the death penalty.

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