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US Sergeant avoids prison for desertion in Afghanistan
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 11/4/2017 11:30:06 AM
US Sergeant avoids prison for desertion in Afghanistan

Washington: US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, charged with desertion in Afghanistan, dodged a prison sentence after a special military court sentenced him to demotion and a dishonorable discharge, a media report said.

The sentence on Friday, handed down by a court-martial at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, allows Bergdahl to avoid the maximum penalty he faced, which was life in prison, while sentencing him to a demotion in rank to private (the lowest level), forfeiture of $10,000 and a dishonorable discharge, according to the CNN news channel, Efe news reported.

Bergdahl went missing from his base in Afghanistan in 2009. He spent five years as a prisoner of the Taliban before being released at the end of May 2014 in a prisoner swap negotiated by the then Barack Obama administration, involving the release of five Taliban fighters imprisoned at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba.

Upon his return home, the Pentagon, which during his captivity promoted Bergdahl to the rank of Sergeant, decided to investigate the circumstances of his disappearance from a post in the embattled Afghan province of Paktika and recommended a military trial with a sentence of life imprisonment if found guilty.After a long review of the case, the US armed forces decided to press charges against Bergdahl for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

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