Army deserter Bergdahl apologizes to troops injured searching for him

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Reuters) – U.S. Military Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl took the stand at his sentencing on Monday, apologizing to the troops who received harm looking for him after he abandoned in Afghanistan in 2009 and detailing the tough circumstances of Taliban captivity.

“I made a horrible mistake,” the 31-yr-previous soldier stated throughout his most in depth feedback thus far at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg. “Saying I’m sorry shouldn’t be sufficient.”

His statements marked the opening of the protection’s case, which suffered a blow earlier within the day when the presiding army decide stated President Donald Trump had not broken Bergdahl’s probabilities of a good sentence.

Trump referred to as Bergdahl “a no-good traitor” who must be executed throughout final yr’s presidential marketing campaign, and the protection stated newer remarks by the Republican confirmed his opinion had not modified.

Military Colonel Jeffery Nance stated Trump’s feedback in the course of the marketing campaign have been “condemning and damning of the accused” however had not influenced the proceedings.

“I’m utterly unaffected by any feedback President Trump has made about Sergeant Bergdahl,” Nance stated.

The decide stated he would contemplate the president’s feedback as a mitigating issue, nevertheless, elevating the potential of a lighter punishment for Bergdahl.

U.S. Military Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl (L) arrives on the courthouse on the fourth day of sentencing proceedings in his courtroom martial at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S., October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

He faces as much as life in jail after pleading responsible on Oct. sixteen to desertion and misbehavior earlier than the enemy. The Idaho native was captured by the Taliban after strolling off his fight outpost in Paktika Province in June 2009 and spent the subsequent 5 years in captivity struggling torture, abuse and neglect.

He was launched in a 2014 Taliban prisoner swap brokered by the Democratic administration of former President Barack Obama.

Bergdahl testified that his captors locked him in “the cage” after a quick escape. He received little meals, water or sleep and was pressured to observe beheading movies.

“Years of nothing however ready to see if the subsequent individual to return in via the door can be the individual to execute you,” he stated.

Bergdahl stated he knew his phrases wouldn’t take away the ache of these injured on the lookout for him.

Grasp Sergeant Mark Allen, probably the most critically harm, suffered a debilitating mind damage that left him unable to talk or stroll after being shot within the head throughout a July…

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