Sparing deserter Bergdahl prison time 'complete and total disgrace', says Trump

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrives for a pretrial hearing at Fort Bragg N.C. Former Navy SEAL James Hatch who testified this week at Bergdahl’s sentencing hearing on charges he endangered comrades by leaving his

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not serve any jail time for walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, a military judge ruled Friday.

The sentence drew swift condemnation from US President Donald Trump, who called it "a complete and total disgrace to our Country and to our Military" in a Twitter post from Air Force One as he flew on the first leg of a trip to Asia.

The judge on November 3 also gave Bergdahl a dishonorable discharge, reduced his rank, and ordered he forfeit pay amounting to $10,000.

He plead guilty to desertion and misbehavior in front of the enemy.

In court, Bergdahl appeared tense, grimaced and clenched his jaw.

The case inflamed USA political divisions over the Afghan war, with supporters calling Bergdahl a victim of the 16-year-old conflict and detractors labelling him a turncoat whose action led to severe injuries of fellow soldiers in his unit on search missions for him.

Army Colonel Jeffery Nance delivered the sentence in a hearing that lasted just two minutes, and did not comment on his decision. Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held for five years, until President Barack Obama traded Taliban prisoners to bring him back.

"This has been a bad ordeal", Eugene Fidell, one of the soldier's lawyers, said after the hearing.

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He commended the leadership of the National Assembly led by Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of 14 years of in prison.

Prosecutors had sought a stiff penalty because of wounds suffered by service members who searched for Bergdahl after he disappeared in 2009.

A punitive discharge deprives Bergdahl of most or all of his veterans' benefits.

But earlier this week during the sentencing phase of the trial he warned that Trump's comments nevertheless could "mitigate" the sentencing.

Capt. Nina Banks, a defense attorney, said it wouldn't be justice to rescue Bergdahl from the Taliban "only to place him in a cell" now.

Morgan concluded that Bergdahl had the condition before he enlisted in the Army, suffering also from post-traumatic stress disorder from a hot-tempered father who allegedly punched holes in walls and sent Bergdahl fleeing when he heard his father's truck rumbling toward their home in Idaho.

Trump has never been a fan of Bergdahl - in March 2017, he called Bergdahl a "dirty, rotten traitor".

The soldier said he had walked away from his outpost in Paktika province to report problems in his unit.

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