Court says Hasan can be shaved
October 18th, 2012
08:08 PM ET

Court says Hasan can be shaved

By Jennifer Rizzo

A military appeals court decided Thursday that accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan can be forcibly shaved, despite his assertion that his religion requires he wear a beard.

Siding with the judge overseeing the trial, Col. Gregory Gross, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow Hasan to wear a beard during his upcoming court martial, as Hasan did not prove his beard was an expression of a sincerely held religious belief.

"We agree with the military judge's conclusion that petitioner's wearing of the beard denigrates the dignity, order, and decorum of the court-martial and is disruptive under the current posture of the case," the decision says.

Even if Hasan did wear the beard out of a sincere religious belief, the decision found that "compelling" government interests justified the judge's order for Hasan to be shaved.

The military psychiatrist is accused of opening fire in November 2009 at the Texas Army post's processing center, where soldiers were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq.

The attack left 13 dead and 32 people wounded. Hasan was paralyzed from the waist down after police exchanged fire with him.

His court-martial had been scheduled to start in August. But the appeals court delayed its start to determine whether his beard can be forcibly shaved during trial.

Army regulations prevent soldiers from wearing facial hair while in uniform. Hasan, who is still a soldier, is a practicing Muslim and maintains he has the right to wear the beard under U.S. laws protecting religious freedoms.

At a hearing in August, Hasan spoke about the beard he had grown.

"Your honor, in the name of almighty Allah, I am a Muslim," he told Gross. "I believe that my religion requires me to wear a beard."

Prosecutors argued that Hasan should have to shave his beard, saying the facial hair would make it harder for witnesses to identify him in court.

Gross ordered that Hasan would have to shave, triggering the appeal from Hasan's lawyers that was decided Thursday.

The court's decision can be further appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, an independent tribunal with worldwide jurisdiction over active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces and others subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Members of Hasan's defense team have indicated they plan on appealing the decision, according to Fort Hood.

If convicted of the shooting, Hasan can be sentenced to death.

A U.S.-born citizen of Palestinian descent, the licensed psychiatrist joined the Army in 1997. Though he was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan, he had been telling his family since 2001 that he wanted to get out of the military.

Hasan told his family he was taunted after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Investigations tied to the Fort Hood shootings found he had been communicating via e-mail with Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Yemeni-American cleric killed last year in a U.S. drone attack.

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    November 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  2. Juliusz

    Where's the pic of him without the beard then? Having not seen it, I'd say to him DON'T DO IT leave the beard on. Looks great. In fact, he looks a liltte bit like a younger version of the actor Tobin Bell.

    November 13, 2012 at 12:12 am | Reply
  3. Ridiculous

    This is absolutely ridiculous!! Islam does not "REQUIRE" Muslims to wear a beard!! What a deceitful liar!!! Stop spreading incorrect messages about Islam! No where is it written in the Koran to wear a beard. Islam is not a religion of external appearances.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  4. George Patton

    it's more than a week and why this bugger is still unshaved? I can't wait to see his new picture.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  5. sosoprinces33@yahoo.com

    Let this killer go to hell

    October 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  6. Peter Hawker

    What a STUPID story, no matter what this guy did and why he wants to grow a beard, he still has rights. When has someone growing a beard ever been an issue? Maybe Hair Club for Men can transplant it to his bald f'n head, then you can execute him.

    October 20, 2012 at 1:49 am | Reply
    • Guest

      Dear Internet,

      My name is Peter Hawker and I CLEARLY have no idea how the military works, but I'm going to comment on this story anyway. Please ignore the obvious fact that this guy is *still in the Army* pending the results of his trial and that growing a beard is prohibited in the military.

      October 20, 2012 at 2:13 am | Reply
  7. Guest

    This guy is a hypocrite. For years this Muslim shaved his face every day. Since we have an all volunteer army, he could also have left the military at any time if he had problems reconciling it with his religion. Shave him every day, for the rest of his life.'

    October 20, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
  8. Randy

    Can we pull his whiskers out one by one with a pair of needle nose pliers instead, and laugh like little kids every time we pull a hair out? I will donate the pliers and my time and I promise it won't hurt, your honor!

    October 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  9. Kimberly Cooke

    My brother was shot 5 times by this guy. I can assure you, no one in our family, my brother included, cares whether he has a beard or not. To continue to allow these circus acts to overshadow the real issue at hand is in itself an injustice to those killed or wounded by this terrorist.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • Randy

      God Bless You and your brother, Kimberly! I am glad your brother is alive and my prayers are with you and your family.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • levy

      I guess his beard is more important than your brother.

      October 20, 2012 at 3:04 am | Reply
    • suggestion

      I hope your brother and family and all other victims and their families are healed very soon.
      if this guy and his lawyers want to play games with the system – see if you can go ahead and do video depositions (or whatever) so you don't develop ptsd or other anxiety illness waiting for justice to be done.
      just a thought
      best to you

      October 20, 2012 at 8:48 am | Reply
  10. Thepacific

    I like the idea to inflict less of physical pain but more of mental shame to Jihatarts.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  11. Thepacific

    Wax every single hair on Jihatartds. That should be the law of the land.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  12. Lou Cypher

    It sez in the Koran, all jihadists must be waxed, never shaved.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Thepacific

      Yeeha, I love the idea. I would support the waxing of all Jihadtarts in prison. Wax the hec out of them.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  13. Sorkh Razil

    You're gonna need a lawnmower to shave that muff off his face!

    October 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Thepacific

      how about John Deer GT425, zero-turn tolerance?

      October 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  14. Slammy Williams

    Shave him first. Then let some lady in a bikini hang him in front of a caricature of Mohammed.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      Why wait? Why keep showing pictures of him with his beard? Nobody wants to see that. JUST DO IT.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  15. GH

    What a waste of time. This man did it period. Everyone knows this so why waste time, money and the space in a jail.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  16. lindaluttrell

    This monster is facing multiple murder charges and is still gri[ing about hsi beard? Shave him! With any luck that straight-razor will "slip" and remove his head with it!

    October 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  17. Dan

    This happened in 2009. Why was he not put at the pit end of a shooting range long ago?

    October 19, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Snowman

      Cut his beard off....along with his head. Its time for criminals who kill the innocent to not have any rights. Enough already!!

      October 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  18. Sarah

    It does seem strange that although he was a Muslim before his arrest, there was no compulsion for him to have a beard then. Prohibited from wearing one in uniform, he didn't seem to have any problem. Once out of uniform, it becomes a big damn issue. I think all prisoners should be kept clean-shaven and have short hair. Contraband can so easily be smuggled in long tresses or a bushy beard. Uniformity of hair also emphasizes the disciplinary nature of imprisonment, just as it does in the military. Oh, and by the way, why is a beard so absolutely necessary to follow one's faith whereas murdering hoards of total strangers is not something in which he felt compelled to show restraint?

    If this guy wanted out of the military since 2001, why did he stay? Couldn't he get out when his enlistment expired? The man was a psychiatrist; it's not like he had no skills with which to make a living in the civilian world.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • Sarah

      P.S. Also, changing one's physical appearance between one's arrest and one's trial is on old trick. If you come your hair differently or dye it another color or grow or remove facial hair, your appearance changes and may confuse witnesses against you.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Reply
      • Sarah

        Make that "comb." God.

        October 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Dave

      Sarah, he is military. In the military you can not have a beard unless you are in a position that you can grow one for certain purposes. Now his position in the military he had to shave and he is still military therefore he has to shave his beard!!

      October 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      Very well put. Amen.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  19. austinswafford

    This whole thing is pretty ridiculous. Frustrating and absurd that Hassan is maintaining this when he's gone without a beard before. He's digging his heels in now about something he didn't before. But why is the military delaying justice by digging in their heels on this inconsequential issue? In the time it's taken to make these decisions, they could have already tried and sentenced him. Why are they digging in their heels about such a ridiculous issue? He wants to have a beard - try him with his beard. What difference does it make? Both sides are acting pretty ridiculous on this, in my opinion.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  20. Scott

    I'LL DO IT - I'LL DO IT! I'll use a rusty knife as the razor and pig excrement for shaving cream :)

    Scott

    October 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Reply
    • ogre12

      oh let me! let me! I will use a weed whacker and edger around his ears and eye brows. :-)

      October 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Thanks for your offers, but you guys are too late, they already accepted my method, put duct tape across his face and pull.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  21. dickperryisadick

    Burn it off with a jet engine.

    October 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Reply
    • snowdogg

      too tame!

      October 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  22. barfly

    gunna get you, sand N166ER

    October 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Dude no need for racism!!

      October 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  23. tacostand

    Shave him

    October 19, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
  24. hillbillynwv

    I hope the accidently slice his throat when they are shaving him.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
  25. Joe

    This turd's trial should have long been over. It is a slap in the face to every honorable serviceperson in the country that this is still going on. Every day this turd eats, sleeps, and has his medical needs attended to at our expense, plus lawyers and the countless other costs that occur. Let me remind the "valiant" top brass overseeing this farce that he was finally subdued by a policewoman on an army base so politically correct that NO ONE HAD A GUN (but him). His fellow doctors down the hall should have been armed, along with guards, etc.. Patton is rolling in his grave.
    He should get the death penalty and the Army should carry it out. I don't doubt that most of the average GIs wouldn't mind volunteering. That's what you get in an age where generals never even see combat.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • Hugh Jass

      "Let me remind the "valiant" top brass overseeing this farce" Snap out of it, sonnyboy. You want EVERY AMERICAN SOLDIER to lose their rights over a test case? Let's assume you don't, so zip it; he's an American, a citizen of the greatest country in the world, and he will be tried fairly by a military tribunal and defended by a lawyer. That's the way we do it here, and you can go back to whatever two-bit scrap of land you call home and tell them so. If he's found guilty, he'll rot in that wheelchair; if he's found innocent, I'll eat my hat.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  26. Gena

    He deserves as much choice in the matter... religious or otherwise... as he allowed those who became his victims. NONE!!!

    October 19, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
  27. BillD

    We want the beard off. He doesn't want to be shaved. So we shouldn't shave him. We should wrap his noggin in duct tape and then pull it off verrrry slooooly. That will take care of the beard.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:35 am | Reply
  28. HGB

    Use a good old fashioned straight blade and hope he resists...

    October 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
  29. john

    found the time to shave all these year in the military....use a straight edge...so if he moves we can just call it an accident....throw is worthless body on the mortar range...

    October 19, 2012 at 11:24 am | Reply
  30. Ted

    Why is this guy still breathing ? It's been 3 years ! What are we paying the military courts for – to decide if this guy needs a haircut and a shave ? At this rate, he'll die of old age before he gets to trial ! Who CARES if he's crazy – put him up against the wall and send him to Allah already.

    October 19, 2012 at 11:19 am | Reply
    • snowdogg

      We may not live to see "justice" rendered. There is no doubt of his guilt... due process shouldn't take more than a week – except for the stalling tactics of his lawyers [paid for by the American public].

      October 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
      • Hugh Jass

        "stalling tactics of his lawyers [paid for by the American public]." He's going to be tried by a military tribunal, the meanest and least-forgiving court of all; his military contract allows them to withhold certain of his rights because his carcass belongs to Uncle Sam. They could probably shoot him and bury him with a pig and it would be legal. I'd drown myself in a toilet to escape life in a stockade. You think he's enjoying life right now? Heh heh.

        October 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  31. He can be shaved....

    .....but shouldn't he really be sh0t?

    October 19, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  32. Jay

    Oh weird - his religion didn't require him to wear a beard when he murdered soldiers in cold blood...

    October 19, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • portia

      MY thoughts, exactly...why was this even an issue?

      October 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
  33. sonny

    I would cut his head off instead of shaving him.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      Give him the ol' dull rusty straight razor....I'll execute that SOB w/ my bare hands.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
  34. Lord Yabu

    So the defense council will also say that the killings were legal since his religion calls for Jihad ? I think these are Hasan's final moments on Earth. The real irony is a psychiatrist has a mental breakdown and kills people.

    October 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • G

      This was no mental breakdown. It was a cowardly, calculated attack by a member of the "religion of peace".

      October 19, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
  35. Sam

    The US Military is one of the most pretentious things I've read about lately. They had to shave him for a court-martial because his beard would be disruptive? And these kinds of people are responsible for our freedom and safety? That's more terrifying than the terrorists.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • freelance7

      And he just remembered his religion requires him to wear a beard when he was about to go on trial for a capital crime? Why hasn't he challenged Army rules before on the issue? He's been a Muslim for years, but without a beard.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
      • Melanie

        I thought the same thing – his face was shaved before the crime. I wish they slit his throat from ear to ear "accidentally".

        October 19, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • PJW

      @Sam: Pretentious? Disruptive?

      Think outside the box. The Judge is making a very smart decision here, which you are obviously not seeing. He's preventing appeals after the trial from the defense claiming jury bias, etc. Hasan was not wearing a beard when he committed the crime. The Judge wants him to look exactly as he did that day, so there's no question of misidentification from the witnesses during the trial. The Judge doesn't want Hasan to look like, "every old murdering, jihad'ing, muslim terrorist as seen on television and movies", which could potentially discredit the witnesses when they point him out in court as being the person they saw commit the crime.

      Quite simply: The Judge is being smart. He wants Hasan to look EXACTLY the same way he did as the day the crime was committed, so there is ZERO CHANCE of an appeal down the road from Hasan claiming, "people just pointed at him and said he did it because his beard and general appearance make him look like a terrorist."

      October 19, 2012 at 10:10 am | Reply
      • Marcus M

        Well said PJW!

        October 19, 2012 at 10:12 am |
      • Tracy

        @PJW: Very well said.

        October 19, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • ssnst

        I think more importantly, Major. Hassan is still on active duty drawing pay and will do so until comvicted and his punishment is determined, than he will be reduced in rank, fined, dishonorable discharge, and whatever his sentence is; life in prison or the death penalty. And since he is on active duty he must adhere to the UCMJ (uniform code of military justice) and ALL army regulations, including being clean shaven.

        October 19, 2012 at 11:54 am |
      • austinswafford

        Such an appeal wouldn't withstand the laugh test. It'd be dismissed immediately. Can't claim bias if they guy is insisting on that being his appearance in the court room. I don't think this is the reason for the ruling. You're applying logic to the decision that I don't think can be applied.

        October 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
      • Hugh Jass

        Exactly, and ssnst is right as well. Don't forget that he is active duty military – they could drop him out of a plane with no trial if he argued. They OWN him.

        October 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • PJW

        @SSNST: Yes, it's true that regulations are there, but remember, exceptions have been made to this regulation (see Army CPT Kamaljit Singh Kalsi, a Sikh who was allowed to keep his beard under an exception to policy rule in 2009, along with another Sikh).

        The court needs a reason, other than regulation, to discredit and deny any appeals on this matter. Since precedents have been set allowing beards recently, this poses a very real risk of a successful appeal in the future if the court martial's ruling is based on Army Regulation alone. Making a judgment call that removes all bias of physical appearance so witnesses can positively identify Hasan and Hasan's defense team cannot delay things in the future with an appeal on the grounds that his physical appearance is prejudicial to due process is the true reason here, believe me.

        COL Gross and the chief judge of the courts martial are not stupid. They know exactly what Hasan is trying to do. They know his defense team told him to grow a beard, and why. Hasan is not stupid, either. He knew an appeal on religious grounds would not pass the "smell test". They're just delaying the trial as long as possible and trying to set himself up for much bigger appeals later on down the road. We're going on 3 years now and the trial is still not underway. It's all delay tactics and attempts to discredit witnesses before the trial even starts.

        October 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • bill

      The Commander in King has decided holding US citizens without charges indefinitely is the American Way. The Jews were shaved or wait that never happened right? Who else is shaved in the United States before ANY court for ANY reason? I don't care about Islam vs Christian angles. Do you comb his hair and do his nails? His crime is moot. If a beard on an alleged killer hurts the US military courts chance for conviction that much or is perceived to be offensive, we are really in much worse shape than even CNN lets us see. Fake wars, bull**** courts and fear, the best weapon.
      You are very right Sam.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
      • Retired Soldier

        Any US Soldier standing in front of a court martial is required to meet the grooming standards of AR 670-1. Which means men will be clean-shaven unless they have a waiver.

        Hasan does not have a waiver, and his is not eligible for a waiver.

        October 19, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • motorfirebox

        Um, Hassan has been charged. He was charged in Nov-Dec 2009. And as far as shaving goes, Hassan is still a soldier in the US military, and is still subject to military law–including grooming standards.

        October 19, 2012 at 11:26 am |
      • Frank

        So why would killing 13 people suddenly give this clown carte blanche to break the military rules that he himself has been following for 10 years? That I know of, he had no interest, nor did he ask permission, to grow a beard before he shot people. Why in the world would he be allowed to grow one now? Would it also be OK if he grows his hair and fingernails out, starts wearing a loincloth, and stops bathing too now that he's a coddled murderer? What if his 'religion' also demanded he smoke pot and marry a 6 yo? Should the military supply these things for him?

        I have a better idea. Make this idiot follow all the rules that everyone else in the military has to follow. If he doesn't like these rules, maybe he should have left the military *before* he decided to kill people.

        October 19, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Myrmidon

      "Sp witnesses can identify him in court."

      October 19, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • jnpa

      He is still a major in the United States Army and is still getting paid. Army Regulation 670-1, paragraph 1-8 states "Handlebar mustaches, goatees, and beards are not authorized". That means what it says – no beards!

      October 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • UnSub

      Islam does NOT require a beard nor does it require a hijab for women. In many countries women wear hijabs because it's a fashion statement. I am muslim. Can't wait for them to fry this guy.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
      • RyGy

        Well spoken, sir.

        October 19, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • Hugh Jass

        He will be meeting a better class of Muslims in jail than the ones he's been hanging around with, but they will not welcome him.

        October 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • capnmike

      If you don't like it, get the hell out of America. Maybe you'd be happier in Iran or North Korea or someplace like that. You're bloody lucky to have the American military protecting you, dirt wad.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • Lord Yabu

      The military shaves heads and beards for many purposes...one reason is for hygiene purposes...head lice. You being a flaming liberal would certainly take exception to that.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
    • Spokanedad

      You pretentious troll.. The military and the people who make it up are out there every day, allowing you to spew the garbage above.. Put a uniform on for four years and get in the middle of the mess they go into over in the Middle East.. Otherwise go back to selling your oil paintings on the street.... You make me ill...

      October 19, 2012 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • SGT H.

      Spoken like a true non-veteran. We (the United States military) have been protecting your right to say things like this for over 200 years. And yes I served, as is my son, as did my father, his father, his father, and his father before him – all proudly.

      Pretentious? Ha! How about disciplined, selfless, professional, valiant, proud, or heroic? Of course these words don’t resonate with people like you.

      By the way – you’re welcome.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  36. Jason

    This guy joined the military in 1997 and committed his vicious crime in November of 2009. It states that his family said that he wanted to get our of the military since 2001. As an officer, he could have simply submitted his resignation and he would have been released from active duty anytime between 2001 and 2009. Also, he is still on active duty drawing all of the pay and benefits of other military members who are performing their duties in an honorable manner. As a Major in the US Army, he is well aware of the grooming standards (beards included) of the military. This guy is just grabbing for straws in an attempt to save his life. The lawyers assigned to him must take a shower every night to keep the stench of this case off of them an for defending an individual that slaughtered and injured fellow members in arms. There is only one punishment for a person that betrayed his country and fellow service members in such as fashion.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
  37. Jack 63

    Just set the beard on fire and hand him a razor. Either Allah will put out the fire or Hasan will shave it off, my money is on him shaving it off.

    October 19, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
  38. Kristen

    I would love to be the barber holding that razor...."Oops I slipped!"

    October 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • Josh

      My mower has a new blade and I want to see if it works.

      October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  39. Big Bob

    We just don't want to connect the dots, do we? Just about every darn article on this site. No it isn't Islam, it's workplace violence. Yea, right!

    October 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
  40. Kweso

    I still recall that when he shot his victims, he was not wearing a beard. Did he just convert to Islam?

    October 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Just like many American convicts.. They get busted for a crime then, in prison, they all find God and claim they are innocent after proven guilty. Prior to the incident, he was not allowed to have a beard because he was serving the US military. Now, if his religion says he must have a beard, yet shaved it to get a job, then according to sharia law he must have his head removed from his torso. Either way, the death penalty is a just punishment. Dude should have never been let into the US military to begin with. He managed to disgrace the US uniform and his religion at the same time. A hundred and fifty years ago he would have been burned at the stake for heresy

      October 19, 2012 at 9:49 am | Reply
      • Nicou

        The orthodox Jews as well as the radical Islamics believe that they must differentiate between men and women. This is how unreal their thinking is. Women must wear wigs, hijabs and long dresses and men must wear wide pants and beards..... We are all born naked and none of these attires appears when we are born.....I worked in a jewish orthodox school and I was choked when the kids age 7 identified pictures of kids according to what they wore (dress – has to be a girl, pants has to be a boy.... God created us and what He made is beautiful.... why all those stupid camouflage....Too many humans love to complicate and interprete their religious books according to their humans views.

        October 20, 2012 at 7:50 am |
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