Bowe Bergdahl: Desertion charges for former POW.

Bowe Bergdahl Officially Charged With Desertion, Faces Life Imprisonment

Bowe Bergdahl Officially Charged With Desertion, Faces Life Imprisonment

The Slatest
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March 25 2015 3:48 PM

Bowe Bergdahl Officially Charged With Desertion, Faces Life Imprisonment

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Bergdahl.

Army handout/Reuters

In January, Army officials denied reports that they had decided to charge kidnapped American soldier Bowe Bergdahl—who was released in a May 2014 prisoner swap after five years being held by the Taliban—with deserting his unit before he was captured. That decision has now been made: Bergdahl has been charged with desertion and “misbehavior before the enemy.”

Bergdahl will now face an “Article 32 hearing,” Col. Daniel King said at a Fort Bragg, North Carolina, press conference, which will help determine whether he faces a full court-martial. King compared the Article 32 process to the process of a civilian grand jury. 

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“Desertion with intention to shirk important or hazardous duty,” King said, is punishable by dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay, and confinement of five years. For the second charge, “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit, or place,” punishments can include dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay, and confinement for life.