Former Liberian President Charles Taylor transferred to the UK few weeks ago to serve his remainder 50 years jail terms has been described as a high risk prisoner by local Frankland Prison Officials in New Castle, Britain, family members have said.
Two of Mr. Taylor's daughters who spoke with Thursday from his New Castle prison said their father (Taylor) has been told not to use some of his personal belonging he took with him from The Hague; for fear that he might be attacked if he uses them.
Mr. Taylor's daughters-Chorale Taylor, and her younger sister, currently reside in the UK and are children by Agnes Reeves Taylor, an ex-wife of Taylor. Since his transfer to the UK, Taylor has spoken with his family twice.
The family has hired a QC, John Jones, in London to seek better prison condition for Mr. Taylor, a family spokesperson told this paper Thursday. This paper emailed Special Court Public Affairs Director Peter Andersen for comment on the issue, but he did not respond as at press time last night.
Mr. Arthur Saye told the New Dawn that the family is also appealing to the African Union to give some attention to the Taylor prison condition. He said their appeal is in line with a letter the family wrote the AU in April this year, just months before the Appeal Chambers of the UN back Special Court could uphold the 50 years conviction of the Trial Chambers. Mr. Saye said he still holds the view that Taylor's imprisonment is politically motivated.
Despite his protest against being sent to a British jail for fear that he could be attacked and killed by fellow inmates serving jail terms there, Taylor was transferred from The Hague to the United Kingdom on Tuesday October 15, 2013 to serve the remainder of his 50 year-sentence.
A Special Court release said Mr. Taylor departed the Netherlands in a chartered plane at 10:54 a.m. local time (8:54 GMT), and arrived in the UK at 12:00 p.m. (10:00 GMT) where he was handed over to representatives of Her Majesty's Prison Service. He was accompanied by Special Court detention and security officials.
The release detailed that on 4 October, pursuant to Rule 22 of the SCSL Statute and Rule 103(B) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Special Court President, Justice George Gelaga King, signed a confidential order, designating the UK as the State in which Mr. Taylor would serve his sentence.
That order was made public on 10 October 2013. Taylor's transfer was made in furtherance of the President's order, and in accordance with the terms set down in the Enforcement of Sentences Agreement concluded between the Court and the UK on 10 July 2007.
Taylor had written the Special Court of Sierra Leone, protesting being sent to a British jail for fear that he could be attacked and killed by fellow inmates serving jail terms there. His family members had also argued that Taylor be preferably jailed in Rwanda, which they said would be less expensive for visits unlike the United Kingdom.
But Special Court Spokesman Peter Andersen said the concerns raised by the Taylor family is a non issue because such concerns are considered in the court's Statue, Rules and Practice Direction, including measurers to ensure Taylor's physical safety, the availability of vocational and educational programs, religious accommodations and medical services, among others.
"The Special Court can only send prisoners to countries with which we have enforcement agreements. We have no such agreement with Rwanda in respect of Mr. Taylor, and we have no enforcement agreement at all with Norway," Andersen clarified.
In his letter to the Special Court of Sierra Leone, Taylor wrote among other things: "Most of my close relations, including my wife, ex-wife, and most of my children, reside in Liberia. Travel for them to Rwanda is much less costly easier than travel to the UK for several reasons.