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US soldier may face life sentence over desertion

Military charges against U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a former prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan charged with desertion, have been referred for trial by general court-martial according to the U.S. Army Forces Command.

The 29-year-old was charged earlier this year with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the more serious offense of misbehavior.

In a preliminary hearing in September, U.S. military prosecutors said that Bergdahl, held for five years before being swapped in 2014 for five Taliban leaders, deliberately left his post.

Major General Kenneth Dahl, who led the military's investigation of Bergdahl's disappearance and capture, testified at the hearing in September that Bergdahl was not a Taliban sympathizer and recommended that he serve no prison time. Dahl characterized Bergdahl as an unrealistically idealistic soldier who left his post to report concerns about his unit's leadership to a general at another base. 

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