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Army to Court-Martial Bergdahl for Desertion in Afghanistan

  • VOA News

FILE - In this file image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.

FILE - In this file image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.

The U.S. Army announced Monday it will court-martial Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl on charges of desertion and putting his fellow soldiers in danger in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl spent five years as a prisoner of the Taliban before he was freed last year in exchange for five Taliban fighters held at the U.S prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

If convicted, Bergdahl could spend the rest of his life in a military prison.

Bergdahl's military defense team argued at a hearing earlier this year that he should be charged with a misdemeanor, which means a reduction in rank, brief jail time and a dishonorable discharge from the service.

They said Bergdahl is not a Taliban sympathizer and that no one was killed when soldiers went out looking for him. The lawyers also spoke of their client's suffering at the hands of the Taliban.

But Army prosecutors say the sergeant put his fellow soldiers in danger when they had to search for him in parts of Afghanistan where Taliban terrorists were lurking. They argued that Bergdahl sneaked away from his unit in the dark of night and planned on running away for weeks.

In an interview produced for a podcast, Bergdahl said he wanted to draw attention to what he perceived as a "failure" of military leadership in his unit.

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