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No Prison Time For Bergdahl
November 22 2017, 01:46 | Irvin Gilbert
Bowe Bergdahl verdict: Soldier who deserted post in Afghanistan to receive no jail time
Sergeant Bergdahl was held captive by the Taliban for five years.
A USA army sergeant, who was court martialled after deserting his post in Afghanistan, has been given a dishonorable discharge.
The judge ruled that Bergdahl's rank would be reduced from sergeant to private, and he would be made to pay a fine of $1,000 per month out of his pay for a period of 10 months.
US President Donald Trump condemned the military judge's decision on Twitter, calling it a "complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military". Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a traitor who should be executed.
Bergdahl's civilian attorney - at a news conference after the sentence was announced, said, "Sgt. Bergdahl has looked forward to today for a long time". Bragg, North Carolina has ruled that Bowe Bergdahl won't be behind bars after pleading guilty to desertion and misconduct.
A punitive discharge deprives Bergdahl of most or all of his veterans' benefits.
Captain Nina Banks, a defence lawyer, said it would not be justice to rescue Bergdahl from the Taliban "only to place him in a cell" now.
Prosecutors were seeking a much harsher 14-year prison sentence for Bergdahl, saying that the prison term was justified based on the injuries sustained by service members who searched for the soldier.
The 31-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Bergdahl is seen as either a hero and courageous POW or a traitor who left his post and went AWOL, endangering the lives of everyone who went to look for him.
During last year's presidential campaign Donald Trump said he believed Bergdahl should be put to death for abandoning his post in the war zone.