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17:01, 18 January 2018 Thursday
Update: 15:21, 04 November 2017 Saturday

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US: Bergdahl avoids prison, dishonorably discharged
US: Bergdahl avoids prison, dishonorably discharged

Demoted soldier must pay $1,000 for 10 months

World Bulletin / News Desk

Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl will avoid prison time but will be dishonorably discharged from the military, a judge ruled Friday.

Military judge Col. Jeffery R. Nance also ordered Bergdahl to pay a fine of $1,000 per month for 10 months, according to reports. Prosecutors had sought a 14-year prison term.

His rank will be reduced from sergeant to E1, also known as private.

Bergdahl, 31, was a private first class when he deserted his base in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. His rank was upgraded while in captivity.

He was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for abandoning his post, which he pleaded guilty to last month.

After deserting, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban, who held him for five years before the administration of then-President Barack Obama negotiated a prisoner swap with the extremist group. Five Guantanamo Bay prisoners were released in May 2014 in exchange for Bergdahl's release.

The release of Taliban detainees angered Obama's political opponents who questioned the rationale of allowing Gitmo prisoners to leave U.S. custody.

President Donald Trump has taken a strong line against Bergdahl, whom he has called a “dirty rotten traitor”.

U.S. forces were wounded in several attempts to rescue Bergdahl, including Sgt. First Class Mark Allen, who was seriously disabled after he was shot through the head, according to reports.

Bergdahl tearfully apologized for his actions during the sentencing hearing this week.

"My words can't take away what people have been through," he said. "I am admitting I made a horrible mistake."

Bergdahl's defense argued his actions were fueled by a previously undiagnosed mental illness.

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