A military judge has ruled that a US Army sergeant who spent five years in captivity in Afghanistan after deserting his post should serve no prison time for endangering his comrades.
The judge ruled that Bergdahl is to get dishonorable discharge, lose rank, forfeit pay in addition to getting no prison time. The judge had wide leeway because Bergdahl made no deal with prosecutors to limit his sentence.
Al Jazeera's Rosiland Jordan reports.
Bergdahl previously pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and faced a potential life sentence in prison.
Prosecutors had sought stiff punishment because of wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl after he disappeared in 2009.
According to Fidell, Bergdahl plans to appeal the dishonorable discharge.
President Donald Trump on Friday reacted to the news on Twitter.
Prosecutors were seeking a much harsher 14-year prison sentence for Bergdahl, saying that the prison term was justified based on the injuries sustained by service members who searched for the soldier.
During the multiday sentencing hearing, Bergdahl testified that he was sorry for the wounds suffered by searchers. President Trump had called Sgt Bergdahl 'a traitor.' Sean Langan, who made a documentary about Sgt Berghdahl and was also held captive by the Taliban, told Julian Marshall about today's verdict.
"We're exhausted of Sgt. Bergdahl, who's a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed", Trump said at an October 2015 rally, for example.
The 31-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, asked for no prison time, citing Bergdahl's time in Taliban captivity.
Bergdahl's defense lawyers twice tried to have the case dismissed over campaign trail comments from President Trump.