Bowe Bergdahl arraigned at North Carolina Army base

Bowe Bergdahl arraigned at North Carolina Army base

USA army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was held by insurgents in Afghanistan for five years before being freed in a prisoner swap, will appear in court Tuesday charged with desertion. Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years before returning to the USA after a controversial trade for five Taliban officials being held at Guantánamo, has been charged with desertion and misbehavior in front of the enemy.

Task & Purpose's managing editor Lauren Katzenberg gives you a rundown with co-hosts James Weirick, a former judge advocate in the Marine Corps, and Nate Bethea, who was an officer in Bergdahl's battalion in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl, who was wearing his dark blue US Army dress uniform and medals, was briefed on his rights and replied with a soft "Yes sir" when asked whether he understood.

He appeared demure, sitting mostly still in his chair then walking deliberately with his head down as he left the courtroom.

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl leaves the courthouse after an arraignment hearing for his court-martial in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, December 22, 2015. Frederikson said Col. Jeffery Nance, another judge, "has been detailed for all future judicial hearings in this case", according to a news release.

Bergdahl will face a court martial - which could end with him spending the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted of the rare misbehavior charge - next year. Critics said that Barack Obama's decision to exchange Bergdahl for Guantánamo detainees jeopardized the safety of the nation.

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Three weeks after he was captured by the Taliban, the group released a 28-minute video that shows Bergdahl pleading for his release.

Legal databases and media accounts turn up only a few misbehaviour cases since 2001, when fighting began in Afghanistan, followed by Iraq less than two years later.

At the time, Bergdahl's defense attorney, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement that the defense team "hoped the case would not go in this direction". His case has gained notoriety as the latest focus of the popular podcast Serial, which has broadcast Bergdahl's recorded telephone conversations with filmmaker Mark Boal. "Doing what I did was me saying I am like Jason Bourne".

Bergdahl's disappearance and the possibility that he might face light punishment had angered many in the military, who say his fellow soldiers took considerable risks to search for him.

The hearing is the first step in Bergdahl's prosecution before a general courts martial.