Monday, 16 October 2017

US Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy

Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier held as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan for five years, has pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy.

The 31-year-old Army sergeant entered his plea on Monday before a military judge at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The Idaho native's lawyers have argued he cannot get a fair trial following criticism from Donald Trump during last year's presidential campaign.

Mr Trump had called him "a no-good traitor who should have been executed".

"We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs," Sgt Bergdahl said in a 2016 interview that was obtained by ABC News and broadcast on Monday.
In the remarks to British filmmaker Sean Langan, who was himself held captive by the same Taliban group in 2008, Sgt Bergdahl denied he had left his post in order to meet Taliban militants.

"You know, it's just insulting frankly," he said. "It's very insulting, the idea that they would think I did that."

Sgt Bergdahl, who remains on active duty desk work in San Antonio, Texas, was first charged in 2015, a year after his release.

During Monday's hearing, he told the court: "I was captured by the enemy against my will."

"At the time I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations... It's very inexcusable," he added.

He is scheduled to face a pre-sentencing hearing starting on 23 October.

The maximum penalty for misbehaviour before the enemy is life in prison, and the maximum sentence for desertion is five years.

Army General Kenneth Dahl, who led the investigation into Sgt Bergdahl's disappearance, has testified that a jail sentence would be "inappropriate".

In a podcast interview last year, Sgt Bergdahl said he walked off his combat post to prove to senior officers his commanders were "unfit" for service.

BBC      News.

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