Bowe Bergdahl to Face Court-Martial on Desertion Charges
Army officials announced Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl would face a court martial for desertion when he walked away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 before he was captured by the Taliban, who held him for nearly five years. The Army made the announcement on Monday after rejecting a a recommendation from an Army investigating officer that the case be heard by a “special court-martial,” which is limited in the punishments it can impose. The officer recommended that Bergdahl be spared jail time or a punitive discharge.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., told the Boston Herald in October that his committee would hold hearings on the case if Bergdahl is not punished for his actions. McCain made the comment after the initial recommendation of leniency. In 2014, the Obama administration exchanged Bergdahl for the release of five Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay in a deal that triggered outrage from some lawmakers. Some of his platoon mates in Afghanistan said Bergdahl let his colleagues down by walking off his post, then put soldiers at risk when a manhunt was launched in an effort to find him. Bergdahl’s defense lawyer, Eugene Fidell released a statement that his defense team hoped the case would not go in this direction.
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