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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Severest type of court-martial ordered for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Severest type of court-martial ordered for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. (NaPo).

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will face general court-martial in connection with his 2009 disappearance from his base in Afghanistan, the service announced on Monday, raising the possibility that the soldier could face life in prison after being held captive for five years.

Bergdahl, 29, is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He has been a political lightning rod since he was exchanged in May 2014 in a prisoner swap approved by the White House in which five Taliban officials were released from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and kept under supervised watch in Qatar.

The decision was made by Gen. Robert Abrams, the four-star commander of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It came after Bergdahl broke his silence last week by participating in the popular podcast “Serial.” The weekly podcast obtained 25 hours of recorded conversations between Bergdahl and film producer Mark Boal with Bergdahl’s approval.

General court-martial is the highest level of trial in the military justice system. If convicted, Bergdahl could face anywhere from life in prison to no confinement. Desertion can carry a death penalty, but Army officials have said that will not occur in Bergdahl’s case. No U.S. service member has been executed for desertion since World War II.

Bergdahl’s attorney, Eugene Fidell, said Monday that Abrams “did not follow the advice of the preliminary hearing officer.” Bergdahl’s defense team “had hoped the case would not go in this direction,” Fidell said. Read the full story here.

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