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Hasan Karim Akbar - US Military Death Row
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Thread: Hasan Karim Akbar - US Military Death Row

  1. #1
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    Hasan Karim Akbar - US Military Death Row




    Summary of Offense:

    Army Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar was convicted in May 2005, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, of killing two officers and wounding 14 fellow soldiers in a fragging incident on March 23, 2003 at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait.

  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Appeal for soldier convicted in '03 grenade attack

    BY BRETT BARROUQUERE
    The Associated Press

    LOUISVILLE, KY. — A military appeal hearing was set Thursday for a U.S. soldier sentenced to death for killing two fellow service members and wounding 14 others in a grenade attack in Kuwait nearly 10 years ago.

    The hearing for 43-year-old Army Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar is scheduled for Nov. 18 in Washington, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces said on its website. Akbar was sentenced to death in 2005 by a military jury.

    He was convicted of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder in connection with an attack on the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait during the early days of the Iraq war. Prosecutors say he threw four hand grenades into tents as members of his division slept, then fired his rifle at soldiers in the ensuing chaos on March 23, 2003.

    Air Force Maj. Gregory L. Stone was killed by a grenade. Army Capt. Christopher S. Seifert was fatally shot in the back. Fourteen soldiers were wounded, mostly from grenade shrapnel.

    His appeal challenges the trial counsel's. Maj. Jacob Bashore, one of Akbar's military defense attorneys, said in a brief that the attorneys who defended Akbar during his trial should not have shown Akbar's diary to the jury. The diary, which contained details of a conversion to radical Islam and expressed anti-government views, hurt Akbar's case, Bashore said.

    In one diary entry dated Feb. 23, 2002, Akbar wrote that he believed staying in the Army would eventually lead him to prison.

    "I had a premonition that if I re-enlisted I would find myself in jail. That is probably true because I already want to kill several of them," Akbar wrote of his fellow soldiers.

    Trial lawyers also failed to comprehensively investigate Akbar's background and didn't turn up allegations that Akbar and his siblings were physically and sexually abused as children, Bashore wrote.

    "Thirty-eight minutes. Barely a moment to explain thirty-one years of Sgt. Akbar's life or its value," Bashore wrote. "However, that is how long the defense sentencing lasted in this capital case."

    Bashore said Akbar joined the Army in 1998 after failing to find other work and struggled with memories of prior physical and sexual abuse and mental issues while serving.

    "When faced with the stress of war and fighting other Muslims, he broke psychologically before committing violence upon his fellow soldiers," Bashore wrote.

    At trial, Akbar's military defense attorneys contended that Akbar had psychiatric problems, including paranoia, irrational behavior, insomnia, and other sleep disorders.

    Prosecutors say Akbar's defense attorneys acted in his best interest to try and prevent a death sentence from being issued in one of the "most egregious offenses in modern military history." The defense attorneys focused on the most viable arguments and witnesses, Maj. Kenneth Borgnino wrote.

    "Every witness examined, every exhibit admitted, and every argument made during the court martial (not merely during the sentencing case), was focused on one fact: appellant was mentally ill," Borgnino wrote.

    Akbar was based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, a sprawling military post on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, and assigned to the 326th Engineer Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division. He's being held in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

    Akbar is one of five former soldiers under a sentence of death and the only one convicted for a crime stemming from the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Akbar was the first soldier since the Vietnam War to be convicted for "fragging" fellow soldiers overseas during wartime.

    http://www.kentucky.com/2014/08/27/3...=/99/164/1052/
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  3. #3
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Military court weighing fate of condemned soldier

    By BRETT BARROUQUERE
    The Associated Press

    A former U.S. soldier sentenced to death for killing two fellow soldiers and injuring 14 others in an attack in Kuwait is pinning his hopes of staying alive on an argument jurors should have never seen his diary.

    Attorneys for 43-year-old Hasan K. Akbar argued on Tuesday that the one-time sergeant's writings, which include details of how he converted to radical Islam, were so inflammatory, that without the proper context, jurors were most likely to focus on the most damaging parts while considering whether to impose a death sentence.

    "They didn't present the information in any meaningful way," said Lt. Col. John Potter, a military lawyer arguing the case for Akbar before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington.

    Akbar was with the 326th Engineer Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, when he was sentenced to death in 2005. He killed Army Capt. Christopher S. Seifert and Air Force Maj. Gregory L. Stone in Kuwait two years earlier during the early days of the Iraq war.

    Prosecutors say he threw four hand grenades into tents as members of his division slept, then fired his rifle at soldiers in the ensuing chaos on March 23, 2003. A military jury at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, convicted Akbar and handed down the sentence. The military has not carried out an execution since 1961. Akbar is one of five ex-soldiers facing a death sentence, the only one for actions in the Iraq war.

    Potter told the judges the defense failed to prepare witnesses and errantly let jurors see Akbar's diary, which contained multiple anti-American passages.

    Potter said allowing the jury to read the diary "eviscerated the defense in any meaningful way."

    "We think the diary, there's no tactical reason to submit the diary," Potter said.

    In one entry dated Feb. 23, 2002, Akbar wrote that he believed staying in the Army would eventually lead him to prison.

    "I had a premonition that if I re-enlisted I would find myself in jail. That is probably true because I already want to kill several of them," Akbar wrote of his fellow soldiers.

    The judges hearing the case focused on how the diary fit into the rest of the defense strategy, asking whether attorneys did anything to put the passages in the context of Akbar's pre-military life or any mental issues he may have had.

    Potter noted that the defense put on 38 minutes of mitigation evidence and argument and didn't present any testimony from his family to humanize him. Instead, the lawyers failed by letting jurors pick through the diary and focus on the passages that left their client in the worst possible light.

    Prosecutors said Akbar's defense attorneys acted in his best interest to try and prevent a death sentence from being issued in one of the "most egregious offenses in modern military history." The defense attorneys focused on the most viable arguments and witnesses, Maj. Kenneth Borgnino said.

    Prosecutors noted that much of Akbar's family likely wouldn't have made a good impression on the witness stand.

    The judges did not indicate when a ruling would be issued.

    http://www.wbtw.com/story/27420377/m...demned-soldier

  4. #4
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    Military court upholds death sentence in 2003 ‘fragging’ case

    The nation’s highest military court has affirmed the conviction and death sentence for a University of California, Davis, graduate who admitted killing two fellow U.S. soldiers at the start of the Iraq War.

    In a closely split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces rejected claims by Los Angeles native Hasan K. Akbar that his original defense team was ineffective. Akbar argued at trial that he was mentally ill when he killed two and wounded 14 in the March 2003 attack in Kuwait.

    “We conclude that if there ever was a case where a military court-martial panel would impose the death penalty, this was it,” Judge Kevin A. Ohlson wrote.

    The court’s 3-2 decision leaves Akbar one of six military men to be facing execution at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth, Kan. Though he had launched a wide-ranging challenge to his conviction and sentence, a big part of the case decided Wednesday dealt with his claim of ineffective counsel.

    “With the benefit of appellate hindsight, we could dissect every move of these trial defense counsel and then impose our own views on how they could have handled certain matters differently and, perhaps, better,” Ohlson noted. “However, that is not the standard of review we are obligated to apply.”

    Ohlson, a former Army paratrooper and federal prosecutor appointed to the court by President Barack Obama, observed that Akbar was “represented by two experienced military attorneys who devoted more than two years to preparing and presenting the defense in this case.”

    The two dissenting judges countered that Akbar’s trial defense attorneys fell short, with specific mistakes that included providing Akbar’s 313-page diary to the court-martial panel.

    “These pages included a running diatribe against Caucasians and the United States dating back twelve years, and included repeated references to (his) desire to kill American soldiers ‘for Allah’ and for ‘jihad,” Judge James E. Baker noted.

    Baker, who has since retired, explained that “the defense intended the diary to reflect (Akbar’s) descent into mental illness,” but that it was “offered without adequate explanation, expert or otherwise.”

    More broadly, Baker observed that the defense team had a hard time in making the case for Akbar because “the armed forces have no guidelines regarding the qualifications, training, or performance required of capital defense counsel.”

    Born Mark Fidel Kools, the son of a felon and the product of broken home, Akbar was from a young age “indoctrinated in the Nation of Islam’s militant teachings,” defense attorneys recounted in a brief.

    Nonetheless a top student in high school, Akbar graduated in 1997 from UC-Davis with dual degrees in aeronautical and mechanical engineering. Akbar took nine years to complete college, subsequently enlisting in the Army in 1998.

    He was a sergeant assigned to the 326th Engineer Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division when his unit deployed to Kuwait. Early on the morning of March 23, 2003, as the U.S. invasion of Iraq was unfolding, Akbar threw incendiary and fragmentation grenades and fired his M-4 rifle in his solo assault on officers sleeping in several tents.

    Army Capt. Christopher S. Seifert, a Pennsylvania native and intelligence officer, and Air Force Maj. Gregory L. Stone, a Boise resident and member of the Idaho Air National Guard, died in the attack.

    Stone, the appeals court noted, “was killed from eighty-three shrapnel wounds.”

    The Army’s subsequent investigation found evidence that Akbar had previously contemplated attacking his fellow soldiers.

    “As soon as I am in Iraq, I am going to try and kill as many of them as possible,” Akbar wrote in a Feb. 4, 2003, diary entry, made public at his court-martial held at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    The court-martial panel required only 2 1/2 hours to convict Akbar, a decision later upheld by the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Akbar’s attorneys subsequently challenged the conviction and death sentence in a massive 328-page brief submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, a panel of civilians based in Washington.

    “Against all odds,” Army Capt. Aaron R. Inkenbrandt and Akbar’s other appellate attorneys wrote, “Akbar seemed fated for success, until mental illness weakened the resolve that for so long repressed years of deprivation.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/community/yolo...#storylink=cpy
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  5. #5
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    Soldier sentenced to die for 2003 murders pins hopes on Supreme Court

    California native Hasan K. Akbar joined fellow convicted killer Dwight J. Loving on the military’s death row 11 years and several legal curves ago.

    Now, aided by some prominent allies, Akbar wants the Supreme Court to reverse his death sentence by revisiting its own decades-old decision in a case brought by Loving. It’s a capital punishment challenge that gives justices a rare opportunity to march into matters of military law.

    It’s also a challenge that illuminates the hard, close quarters of the military’s Leavenworth, Kansas-based death row, where Akbar and Loving account for one-third of the doomed inmate population.

    Akbar’s appeal, moreover, reaches the Supreme Court just as Justice Stephen Breyer is making clear his own readiness to revisit the underlying question of whether capital punishment is constitutionally permissible.

    “Not only is (Akbar) offering a substantial constitutional challenge to a death sentence, but his challenge, if affirmed, would invalidate the entire scheme by which the military justice system currently imposes capital punishment,” attorneys for the National Institute of Military Justice wrote in a brief filed in support of Akbar’s case.

    In 1996, when the Supreme Court decided Loving’s case, Akbar was studying engineering at the University of California, Davis. The Los Angeles native, born Mark Fidel Kools, had struggled through college but was within a year of completing the academically rigorous double-degree program.

    Akbar’s father had served time in prison, as had Loving’s father, whom a defense lawyer described as “an alcoholic, with a rap sheet four pages long.” Akbar’s father, though, converted to Islam while incarcerated and Akbar excelled in high school, while Loving dropped out.

    Convicted of murdering two men while stationed in 1988 at Fort Hood in Texas, Loving began appeals that, against the odds, reached the Supreme Court in 1996. Few soldiers get that far. In the last five terms, the high court has decided 385 cases. None came via the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the summit of the military justice system.

    In what amounted to a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court upheld Loving’s death sentence. The justices reasoned that the president, as commander in chief, could set the aggravating factors that might justify a death sentence.

    Akbar’s case, some think, gives the court a strong reason to revisit the issue.

    “If the court was ever going to pay any attention to the military justice system, this would seem to be a compelling case in which to do so,” Stephen Vladeck, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law who co-wrote a brief supporting Akbar, said Wednesday.

    Several factors were subsequently considered in Akbar’s sentencing, after he was convicted of killing two soldiers and wounding 14 in a March 23, 2003, attack at a U.S. Army staging base in Kuwait.

    “This case involved many aggravating circumstances, including (Akbar’s) murder of two military officers, his use of grenades, the extensive injuries to some officers and the impact of the attack on the unit as it prepared for battle,” the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces concluded last year.

    But in the 20 years since the Supreme Court rejected Loving’s challenge to his sentence, some law has also changed. The question pushed by Akbar’s attorneys and allies is whether this change undermines the 1996 Loving decision and thereby earns Akbar another chance.

    In particular, the Supreme Court, in a landmark 2000 decision called Apprendi v. New Jersey, concluded that facts that enhance a punishment must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. A follow-up 2002 decision added that this standard applied to aggravating factors used in imposing the death penalty.

    “This revolution in the court’s understanding of aggravating factors has swept away Loving’s foundations,” Akbar’s attorneys wrote in their Supreme Court petition, adding that “the fundamental nature” of aggravating factors has changed.

    Citing these Supreme Court cases, the defense attorneys argue that Congress must determine the elements that make for a military capital offense, because it is Congress that’s responsible for writing the law that the president executes.

    Potentially boosting the odds that the Supreme Court will take Akbar’s case, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Institute of Military Justice, and the Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps appellate defense divisions all filed briefs on his behalf.

    The government’s response, which is due next Wednesday, will rely at least in part on the military court’s 3-2 decision rejecting Akbar’s challenge and concluding that any legal error was “harmless.”

    “We will continue to adhere to the holding in Loving unless the Supreme Court decides at some point in the future that there is a basis to overrule that precedent,” Judge Kevin A. Ohlson wrote.

    http://www.fresnobee.com/news/nation...#storylink=cpy
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  6. #6
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    Supreme Court rejects challenge to military death penalty

    The Supreme Court wont hear a challenge to the death penalty for members of the military.

    The justices on Monday rejected an appeal from the former soldier who was sentenced to death for killing two fellow soldiers and injuring 14 others in an attack in Kuwait in 2003.

    The appeal from Hasan Akbar focused on whether the way in which the armed forces impose a death sentence complies with recent Supreme Court rulings.

    Akbar is being held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was convicted of killing Army Capt. Christopher S. Seifert and Air Force Maj. Gregory L. Stone in Kuwait during the early days of the Iraq war.

    The military hasnt carried out an execution since 1961.

    http://cjonline.com/news/2016-10-03/...death-penalty#
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