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Former Taliban prisoner Bowe Bergdahl doesn’t believe he can receive a fair trial because President Donald Trump called him a “traitor” during campaign speeches, reports the Daily Mail.
The Army sergeant is expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in a military hearing that begins at Fort Bragg Monday, according to ABC News. Bergdahl survived five years being held prisoner in a Taliban cage.
He says a fair trial would have been impossible because of Trump’s comments. Bergdahl’s remarks came in an on-camera interview shot last year by a British filmmaker and recently obtained by ABC News.
Bergdahl, a 31-year-old Idaho native, said the narrative that he deserted his company to join the Taliban is false and “just insulting frankly.”
“We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted,” Bergdahl said. “The people who want to hang me, you’re never going to convince those people.”
Bergdahl was a 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment trooper when he walked off his combat outpost in Afghanistan in June 2009 and was almost immediately captured by the Taliban.
He spent five years in captivity and was subjected to what one U.S. official called the worst case of prisoner abuse since the Vietnam War. His captors released him in 2014 in exchange for five Taliban prisoners who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay.
“It was getting so bad that I was literally looking at myself, you know, looking at joints, looking at my ribs and just going, ‘I’m gonna die here from sickness, or I can die escaping,’” Bergdahl said. “You know, it didn’t really matter.”
Trump harshly criticized the deal that released Bergdahl, calling him “garbage” and even suggesting that he should have been executed.