“My phrases cannot take away what folks have been by,” Bergdahl, 31, informed an viewers at his court docket martial that spilled into an overflow room. “I’m admitting I made a horrible mistake.”
Bergdahl pleaded responsible October 16 to desertion and misbehavior earlier than the enemy. His prolonged testimony started after the presiding decide rejected his attorneys’ request to dismiss the case over President Trump’s criticism of him throughout his marketing campaign for the White Home.
Bergdahl mentioned when he initially left his put up, “I used to be attempting to badist and figuring out it did not breaks my coronary heart,” he mentioned. “It was by no means my intention for anybody to be damage.”
Bergdahl mentioned he made a number of makes an attempt to flee his captors, every resulting in situations worse than these he tried to flee. Throughout one escape try, he fell off a cliff and injured his hip and shoulder so badly it nonetheless hurts him, he mentioned. He ate grbad till he acquired sick and spent days searching for water.
Once they discovered him, Taliban troopers ripped out his beard and hair and kicked and spat on him. When he returned to captivity, they put him in a cage together with his legs and arms shackled. He spent 4 years in there.
Bodily and emotional torture
After his apology, he targeted his testimony on particulars of day-to-day life in captivity, describing a squalid cycle of sickness, ache and torture.
He went months with out bathing or cleansing, he mentioned. He developed sores on his wrists, ankles and head from his shackles and a blindfold. Non permanent aid got here from utilizing a razor to chop open his sores to empty, he mentioned. At one level, the Taliban used scissors to chop the lifeless flesh off his ankles and ft.
He had diarrhea for many of time, and for the primary 12 months within the cage he sat in dirty clothes. His situation improved when his captors began serving him boiled water and his cage was raised so they may put a latrine beneath it for him to make use of.
Worse than the bodily ache was the psychological torture, he mentioned. His captors confirmed him DVDs and movies on their cellphones of executions, he mentioned. They informed him they’d minimize his head off and level AK-47s at his temple.
“The worst was the fixed deterioration of all the pieces, ache from my physique falling aside, inside screams from my thoughts, the darkness and lightweight,” he mentioned. “I used to be questioning if each time the door opened it could be the particular person coming to execute you.”
A father turns into helpless
His activate the stand got here after testimony from the spouse of a soldier who was shot within the head whereas trying to find Bergdahl.
Shannon Allen, the spouse of Grasp Sgt. Mark Allen, described the affect of the damage on her husband and his household. She was amongst witnesses for the prosecution who testified to the affect of Bergdahl’s desertion on troopers despatched to seek out him.
Allen teared up on the stand as she described her husband’s current situation.
Earlier than his damage, Allen was a happy-go-lucky concerned father who coached kids’s sports activities, his spouse mentioned. He liked the navy and liked music.
Because the incident, he is had about 20 surgical procedures, she mentioned. He wants scores of medicines, nutritional vitamins and provides and requires nursing care 24 hours a day.
Bergdahl watched intently because the prosecution performed a video of Shannon Allen and a nurse serving to her husband get away from bed and maneuver by the house, which is full of specialty medical gear.
As with an toddler, Mark Allen can’t be left alone as a result of he might need seizures, she mentioned. He can’t eat or drink by mouth and groans with ache.
His younger daughter, Journey, crawls onto his wheelchair and performs on him as a result of he can’t decide her up or maintain her, Shannon Allen mentioned.
“He’s current, makes eye contact,” she mentioned. “He can giggle, smile, cry. That’s the extent of the communication.”
A Veterans Administration physician testified Monday by phone about Allen’s situation. His eyes are open however there isn’t a consciousness of his atmosphere, Dr. Rafael Mascarinas mentioned. A part of Allen’s mind was eliminated to alleviate strain — the half that controls considering, talking and voluntary motion, Mascarinas mentioned. Allen is between 90% and 100% paralyzed.
The listening to is predicted to renew Tuesday, probably with extra testimony from Bergdahl.
CNN’s Lawrence Viele Davidson contributed to this report.