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Army Moves Deserter To Brig At Philadelphia Naval Base

November 10, 1987

FORT DIX, N.J. (AP) _ A U.S. Army private who defected to the Soviet Union was questioned for two days and moved to the brig at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, an Army spokeswoman said Monday.

Wade E. Roberts was transferred unannounced Sunday and military officials had not decided whether charge him, said spokeswoman Rose Waldrop.

Roberts was moved because of an Army requirement that limits to 72 hours the time a person can be kept in a temporary detention facility.

Army officials have been questioning Roberts about what he did during his eight-month absence. Roberts will remain in detention at the Philadelphia base while the Army investigation continues, Ms. Waldrop said.

Roberts has requested that the Army grant him an administrative discharge rather than require him to stand trial, Ms. Waldrop said.

Roberts said he defected in April after deserting from an Army base in Giessen, West Germany, because his girlfriend was pregnant.

The desertion charge could be changed to being absent without leave or he could be discharged under other than honorable conditions. A conviction on the desertion charged could result in a dishonorable discharge, loss of all pay and privileges and a maximum of two years of hard labor, authorities said.

Conviction by court-martial on the AWOL charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

Roberts fled to East Germany hidden in the trunk of a car driven by his West German girlfriend, Petra Neumann. They went to Moscow after defecting to the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin.

Roberts was taken into custody Wednesday after he and Ms. Neumann returned to Frankfurt. He said he was treated ″exceptionally well″ by the Soviets, but said he wanted to settle in West Germany.

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