Posted on April 21, 2005

Father of Accused Soldier Wants Probe

Estes Thompson, AP, Apr. 20

The father of an Army sergeant accused of killing two officers at the start of the Iraq war urged the military Wednesday to investigate religious and racial harassment he said his son faced from fellow soliders before he unleashed the grenade and rifle attack.

John Akbar’s statement to The Associated Press titled “Concerned Father Seeks Justice For Loved Son” came as testimony wrapped up in Sgt. Hasan Akbar’s court-martial on murder charges that carry a possible death penalty.

Jurors were to return Thursday for closing arguments and the start of deliberations.

The elder Akbar said his son had complained to superiors about threats, slurs and taunts he faced as the only black and Muslim in his platoon, but little was done before the March 2003 attack, which also wounded 14.

Akbar’s father said his son was placed in platoon with “individuals tattooed with Nazi, KKK and Confederate Flag symbols.”

“They would mock him while he prayed and say, ‘Look at you kissing the ground for your god and praying five times a day. . . You act like them, pray like them, and look like them, so we might just mistake you for one of them.”’