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No prison time for United States soldier Bergdahl in desertion case

No prison time for United States soldier Bergdahl in desertion case

Sgt Bergdahl was held captive by the Taliban for five years after he left his Afghan post in 2009, sparking a massive manhunt in the region.

Bergdahl, who originally faced a possibility of life in prison, pleaded guilty to the charges in October and opted to be tried by a military judge rather than a jury.

The judge ruled that Bergdahl is to get dishonorable discharge, lose rank, forfeit pay in addition to getting no prison time.

But a military judge ruled on Friday that a lesser punishment was appropriate.

Earlier this week, the military judge in the case warned that Trump's repeated remarks on the case could "mitigate" the sentencing. Now, Bergdahl has been sentenced and, contrary to Trump's wishes, he will not be given the death penalty.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 14 years in prison, citing serious wounds to service members who looked for Bergdahl.

During a hearing Friday in Fort Bragg, N.C., Bergdahl was sentenced to dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of $1,000 in pay per month and a reduction in rank from sergeant to private, according to a statement from the Army. They also said Bergdahl had suffered enough confinement during five years in Taliban captivity.

Bergdahl's defense team argued that the soldier suffered from several mental health conditions - with experts testifying that a schizophrenia-like condition likely led him to leave his post - and should not be sent to prison. Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor who deserved serious punishment.

The sergeant already has a job offer from an animal sanctuary, and a military official who helps design survival training said he would like to use Bergdahl as a part of lectures to service members on how to survive captivity.

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