Bergdahl: I Was Tortured, Caged for 5 Years

Letter outlines brutal treatment from captors
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2015 12:05 AM CDT
Updated Mar 26, 2015 7:03 AM CDT
Bergdahl: I Was Tortured, Caged for 5 Years
This file image provided by IntelCenter on Dec. 8, 2010, shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of Bowe Bergdahl.   (AP Photo/IntelCenter)

Bowe Bergdahl spent his five years as a Taliban captive caged and tortured both physically and psychologically, according to a letter his lawyer released soon after he was charged with desertion. "I was kept in constant isolation during the entire five years, with little to no understanding of time," Bowe writes in the statement. His lawyer tells ABC the letter sheds light on the "really atrocious conditions" the soldier was held in, which he says military decision-makers should take into account. Bergdahl says that after two early escape attempts, he spent three months chained to a bed and blindfolded. He was allowed to sit chained to the bed only after his muscles atrophied, he says, and after a year, he was moved to a cage, where he spent the remainder of his captivity.

Bergdahl says that despite his physical decline, he made around a dozen escape attempts, escaping once for nine days, but "without food and only putrid water to drink, my body failed on top of a short mountain close to evening" and he was recaptured and severely beaten. He says throughout his captivity, he was frequently beaten and sometimes told he would be executed, or "told I would leave the next day, and the next day told I would be there for 30 years." The lawyer says that considering Bergdahl's savage treatment and his behavior as a prisoner, it would be "unduly harsh to impose on him the lifetime stigma of a court-martial conviction or an other than honorable discharge and to deny him veterans benefits," CNN reports. (More Bowe Bergdahl stories.)

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