By KELLY TWEDELL FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Reuters) - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, a former Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan, was formally charged on Wednesday with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the most serious count, the Army said. Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell of Yale Law School, said the Army had scheduled an Article 32 investigation, similar to a ground jury proceeding in civilian law, to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed with a court-martial on the charges. Bergdahl, 28, was released from Taliban custody last summer in a controversial prisoner swap that saw five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, transferred to Qatar, where they were required to remain for a year. Bergdahl disappeared on June 30, 2009, from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan and was subsequently captured.
The US soldier who was held by insurgents for five years after disappearing from his post in Afghanistan has been charged with desertion and "misbehavior before the enemy", officers said Wednesday. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, 28, was released in May last year in a controversial swap for five Taliban detainees held at the US-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The only American in uniform to be held by insurgents in the Afghanistan war, Bergdahl was held in captivity by Taliban-linked Haqqani militants after he went missing from his base in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border in June 2009. Under the military's code of justice, Bergdahl faces one count of desertion "with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty" and one count of misbehavior that endangers a command, unit or place, Colonel Daniel King told reporters in a televised announcement at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The US Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a former delivery driver who claims she was the victim of discrimination when she became pregnant. The nation's top judges voted 6-3 to allow the plaintiff, Peggy Young, to pursue her lawsuit against the delivery firm UPS, after the case was blocked by a lower court. Young claims she was the victim of discrimination in 2006 when she sought a change in her working conditions after conceiving through in vitro fertilization. "This is long overdue," employment law expert David Gregory said.
Germanwings says 150 people were aboard the plane that crashed in the French Alps on Tuesday, but it has not yet given a final toll of the victims' nationalities. The company says it's still trying to reach the relatives of some victims and that the count is complicated because some passengers may have held dual citizenship.