9 November 2012

Liberia: 45 Legal Errors Identify in Taylor's Verdict

Lawyers representing ex-President Charles Taylor say they have identified 45 legal errors in his verdict, 42 of which is currently being reviewed by the defense team, Taylor's new lead Defense Counsel, Morris A. Anyah told journalist here Thursday.

He said oral arguments into the Appeals filed by ex-President Charles Taylor against his 50-years sentence on "aiding and abetting" the Sierra Leone brutal civil war is expected to start next January 2013, Closing argument and ruling will be expected around October or November of the same year if the court's schedule stands.

Mr. Anyah claims systematic errors through the judgment as grounds for appeal against his client's verdict. He said Taylor is resolute and is determined to fight his appeal to the end.

He denounced rumors that Taylor is being ill-treated in The Hague, adding, the ex -Liberian president is physically fit, and his spirituality has kept him going, "anybody who feels Taylor is beaten or ill-treated is making a mistake,"

Taylor, 65, was found guilty of all 11 counts of aiding and abetting the deadly rebel campaign in Sierra Leone on May 30, 2011. He has insisted on his innocence as his lawyers prepared for the hearing which has in between schedules pretrial conferences next month.

Mr. Anyah who maintained that there were flawed in the judgment said parts of the verdict were based on hearsay, with allegations of bribery of prosecution witnesses to testify against the convict.

He also repeated the defense earlier claims that the 50-year jail sentence of his client (Taylor) was hash, especially for the crime of aiding and abetting. He noted that the verdict is not accepted because an individual cannot be given punishment that is equal or more than the doers of the act.

Mr. Anyah stressed the significant Taylor's appeal, saying that this should be the concern of all West African, while encouraging the government of Liberia to stay online with the issue of Charles Taylor.

He added that the future of Liberia is yet to come, and Taylor issue should now be debated here so as to provide the clear understanding to the young people who will take over Liberia afterward.

Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in jail by a UN-backed war crimes court for Sierra Leone on May 30, 2011. He was found guilty of aiding and abetting rebels in Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 civil war. Special Court for Sierra Leone judges said the sentence reflected his status as head of state at the time and his betrayal of public trust.

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