Army: Akbar Refered For Court Martial

Akbar Refered for Court Martial

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 4, 2004) -- The 101st Airborne Division
Soldier accused of killing two officers and wounding 14 other Soldiers by
rolling grenades into three sleeping tents in Kuwait last March will be tried
by general court-martial.

Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg,
N.C., referred charges against Sgt. Hasan Akbar March 3 as a capital case.

Akbar is accused of two specifications of premeditated murder under Article
118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and three specifications of
attempted premeditated murder under Article 80.

The time between the March 22, 2003, 'frag' incident and the referral of
charges is due to two delays officials said.

First, the 101st Airborne Division was decisively engaged in major Operation
Iraqi Freedom hostilities immediately following the incident, and in stability
and support operations afterward. Akbar was transferred to the division's
higher headquarters, the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, in July as 101st
stability and support operations in Iraq continued.

The second delay was due to a request from Akbar's defense counsel for
sufficient time to prepare for the case. A civilian attorney, at no cost to
the government, and two military lawyers are currently representing Akbar,
officials said.

The case against Akbar was presented to Vines for a decision on how to proceed
in late February.

Abkar faces a potential death sentence if convicted. He is being held in
pretrial confinement at the Fort Knox, Ky., Regional Correction Facility. The
trial will be held at Fort Bragg.

No date has been set for the general court-martial, though officials said they
anticipate the trial to begin sometime this summer.

(Editor's note: A XVIII Airborne Corps media release contributed to this article.)