Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who allegedly deserted his unit in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban for nearly five years, will be arraigned for his court martial next week, the Army said Thursday.
The Army set a date of December 22. Bergdahl will face a military court on charges of desertion and endangering fellow soldiers in a hearing at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was held in captivity by the Taliban until the U.S. released five Taliban detainees in a controversial exchange for Bergdahl in May 2014.
Gen. Robert Abrams, the commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, ordered the court-martial on Monday, breaking with the U.S. military officer overseeing Bergdahl’s preliminary hearing who recommended that Bergdahl be referred to a special court-martial and face no jail time.
Abrams on Monday ordered Bergdahl’s case to a general court-martial, which means Bergdahl could face life imprisonment if convicted of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.”
Lt. Col. Mark Visger, the Army investigator who led the preliminary hearing into the charges Bergdahl faces, recommended against Bergdahl facing any jail time in October.
And Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, who led the investigation into Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan, testified in September that jail time would be “inappropriate” and said he did not find “any evidence to corroborate the reporting that Bergdahl was … sympathetic to the Taliban.”