Army Deserter Bowe Bergdahl Will Not Serve Prison Time

04 November, 2017, 01:08 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Judge rules no jail time for Bergdahl

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will serve no prison time for endangering fellow soldiers when he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured by the Taliban.

"The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military", Trump tweeted from Air Force One, as he headed to Asia for a marathon trip of almost two weeks.

They asked the judge to give their client a dishonourable discharge and no prison time, and also cited harsh campaign trail criticism by Mr Trump and Bergdahl's mental disorders.

The judge also ruled that Bergdahl's rank be reduced from sergeant to private.

He pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy and had faced up to life in prison.

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Meanwhile, the prosecution said that Bergdahl's desertion had put others at harm when rescue missions were sent to find him and that he had been aware of risks when he had enlisted in the army.

Bergdahl, now 31, was captured by the Taliban and spent almost five years under brutal captivity by the insurgent group.

Bergdahl appeared tense, grimaced and clenched his jaw.

Trump's tweet came about 90 minutes after the sentence was announced.

A dishonourable discharge, given for the most serious offences, typically means a loss of all veteran and military benefits, including healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Prosecutors had sought stiff punishment because of wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl after he disappeared in 2009.

The head of the army's investigation, Major General Kenneth Dahl, told the court that Bergdahl may have been delusional at the time.

But his defenders argued that he has already suffered from five years of brutal treatment by the Taliban, before being released in a prisoner exchange for five Taliban fighters in 2014.

Bergdahl's actions in Afghanistan drew withering criticism from political leaders in Washington and fellow soldiers, both for the unsafe efforts to find him and the Taliban prisoner swap brokered by the Democratic Obama administration that secured his release.

Deserting his post was consistent with Bergdahl's personality disorder, said Dr. Charles Morgan.

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At the time of Bergdahl's release, Obama said the US does not leave its service members on the battlefield. Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a traitor who should be executed.



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