Fort Bragg, NC – Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance sentenced US Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Friday, after he pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
The prosecutors asked that Bergdahl be sentenced to 14 years in prison, but Col. Nance sentenced him to no prison time.
As part of his sentence, Bergdahl’s rank will be reduced from Sergeant to E1, according to CNN.
He will also be required to pay a $10,000 fine from his salary for the next 10 months, and be dishonorably discharged.
The charges stem from when Bergdahl deserted his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009. After he deserted, he was captured by the Taliban and held captive for over five years.
President Barack Obama secured his released in May 2014 by exchanging five Guantanamo Bay detainees for Bergdahl.
Sen. John McCain said that the detainees were “hardened terrorists who have the blood of Americans and countless Afghans on their hands.”
After Bergdahl deserted, his platoon searched for him for weeks.
During the search, now-Retired Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer James Hatch testified that he was shot in the leg, and his K9 was shot and killed.
Hatch has since had to endure 18 surgeries for his wounds, and will deal with his injury for the rest of his life.
The light sentence comes after General Kenneth Dahl said that prison time would be “inappropriate” considering that Bergdahl had already spent five years being tortured by the Taliban.
Bergdahl’s defense claims that he had an diagnosed mental illness, and should have never been in the US Army.
Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Charles Morgan diagnosed Bergdahl with schizotypal personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The defense also said that Bergdahl’s willingness to cooperate with investigators warranted a lenient sentence.
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