Nidal Hasan (AP)
Updated: Monday, 03 Dec 2012, 6:06 PM CST
Published : Thursday, 18 Oct 2012, 5:33 PM CDT
FORT HOOD, Texas -- The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday upheld a trial judge's order that Maj. Nidal M. Hasan be clean shaven for his trial in connection with 2009 mass shooting on Fort Hood.
The judges ruled that Col. Gregory Gross, the trial judge, properly found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not provide Hasan the right to wear a beard while in uniform during his upcoming court martial. The ruling could lead to the forcible shaving of Hasan.
The beard issue has delayed court action in the case at least since June.
Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder in the November 2009 attack on the Texas Army post.
The ruling effectively upheld Gross's finding that Hasan did not prove his beard was an expression of a sincerely held religious belief, the Army said in a news release. The court went on to say that even if Hasan did wear the beard for a sincere religious reason, compelling government interests justified Gross' order.
Army grooming standards require soldiers to be shaved
Gross' orders that Hasan be fined $1,000 on six separate occasions for appearing in court out of uniform because of his beard were also upheld.
Defense counsel for Hasan have indicated they plan on appealing today's decision, which is linked here, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
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