Lawyers for US soldier held captive in Afghanistan request release of documents News
Lawyers for US soldier held captive in Afghanistan request release of documents

[JURIST] Lawyers for Bowe Bergdahl filed a petition [text, PDF] with the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals asking for the public release of unclassified documents that were admitted into evidence in a public preliminary hearing last week. In 2009 Bowe Bergdahl, then a Sergeant in the US Army, was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and held for five years. He is currently facing charges [Reuters report] of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The evidence sought by his attorneys includes a 2014 investigation report and interview conducted with Major General Kenneth Dahl, which Bowe’s lawyers believe should be publicly released as they have already been repeatedly referred to publicly in open court. Dahl stated in a military hearing that he does not believe Bergdahl should be given jail time and that Bergdahl did not sympathize with the Taliban but did think his unit was in danger. If convicted of the charges, Bergdahl could face up to life in prison.

Bergdahl was captured by the Haqqani Network [CNN backgrounder] insurgents in June 2009 and was imprisoned for nearly five years in eastern Afghanistan. In March the US military charged [JURIST report] Bergdahl with “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit, or place.” Last year Bergdahl was exchanged [JURIST report] for five Taliban members who were held at the Guantanamo Bay detention complex. Republicans, especially Senator John McCain, in the Senate and House of Representatives [official websites] criticized the exchange. During the time he was held as prisoner, Bergdahl appeared in six videos [advocacy website] released by the Taliban, the only indication that he was still alive.