By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, who is awaiting trial accused of a 2009 shooting rampage that left 13 people dead at Fort Hood in Texas, has been released from a military hospital and returned to the Bell County jail, military officials said on Wednesday.
Hasan, 41, is paralyzed from the chest down from four gunshot wounds he suffered during the November 2009 rampage that also left 32 people wounded. He is being held in a specially built hospital cell at the jail.
A post spokesman declined to comment on why Hasan had been taken to the hospital on Saturday. The nature of his medical issue is protected by patient privacy laws.
John Galligan, Hasan's former civilian defense attorney, has said Hasan suffers from additional complications from his wounds, including an inability to regulate his body temperature.
When he represented Hasan, Galligan frequently complained about what he considered to be poor medical care available to him at the jail, which is about 20 miles from Fort Hood.
Hasan is awaiting court martial on 13 specifications of first-degree murder. The proceedings are on hold while a military appeals court decides whether Hasan, a Muslim, has the right to wear a full beard in the courtroom.
Hasan grew the beard in June to express his devotion to his Islamic faith, but the judge presiding over the trial ruled that it was "disruptive" and violated Army grooming regulations. The judge has threatened to order Hasan "forcibly shaved" before the court martial begins if he does not shave the beard himself.
(Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Editing by David Bailey and Cynthia Osterman)