One huge step closer to justice.
A United States soldier has been sentenced to death by a military court for killing two comrades and wounding 14 more in a “hate-filled, ideologically-driven” attack launched on the eve of the Iraq war.
Hasan Akbar, a Muslim, confessed in his diary that “destroying America is my greatest goal”. He is the first soldier since the Vietnam era to be convicted of murdering a comrade during wartime.
The sentence, which will be automatically appealed, makes him only the sixth person on military death row. The last military execution carried out by the US was in 1961.
Relatives of his victims wept as Akbar was shackled and led from the courtroom at Fort Bragg, an army base in North Carolina.
“Hasan Akbar has robbed me of so many things,” said Tammie Eslinger, the fianceÃ© of Major Gregory Stone, who died as a result of the attack at a military camp in Kuwait two years ago. “He stole my love, my family, my dreams and my future.”
Akbar, 34, from Los Angeles, was among members of the armyâ€™s elite 101st Airborne Division preparing for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
After rolling two live grenades into troopsâ€™ tents as they slept, he raised his rifle and shot at those who tried to flee the attack.
Maj Stone, 40, was hit by 83 pieces of shrapnel. The other victim, Captain Christopher Seifert, 27, was shot in the back.
In a computer diary dating back 13 years, Akbar documented his hatred for the military and US government, a dislike of white people and conflicting loyalties over the pending invasion of Iraq, which began two days after the incident. “I will have to decide to kill my Muslim brothers fighting for Saddam Hussein, or my battle buddies,” he wrote.
This is the sentence that is deserved and that I’d hoped for, though I did say that I would not be surprised if he managed to dodge axe (or noose or firing squad or whatever is currently proscribed by the military for offing swine). Justice will truly be done when Akbar draws his last, hopefully painful breath.