19 June 2014

Liberia: Taylor Seeks Transfer to Rwandan Prison

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has asked to be moved out of a jail in Britain where he is serving a 50-year sentence for war crimes.

Lawyers for Taylor say he has appealed to be transferred to Rwanda because his imprisonment in Britain unlawfully prevents him from receiving visits from his family in Africa.

Taylor is appealing to the U.N.-backed tribunal in The Hague.

In 2012, the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone found Taylor guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for aiding rebels during Sierra Leone's 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.

Prosecutors said he received so-called "blood diamonds" in exchange for arming rebels who raped and killed civilians.

Taylor was the first former head of state to be convicted by an international court since Nazi leaders were sentenced after World War II.

Britain had offered to house Taylor if he was convicted. He was transferred from The Hague, in the Netherlands, to the United Kingdom last year.

Charles Taylor:

1983: Flees Liberia after being accused of embezzling government funds

1984: Arrested in U.S.; escapes U.S. jail a year later

1989: Resurfaces in Liberia, launches rebellion to overthrow the government

1991: Taylor's forces help Sierra Leone rebels overthrow government in exchange for access to diamond mines. During 11-year civil war, Taylor accused of perpetuating the killing, rape and mutilation of civilians, conscription of child soldiers, other crimes

1997: Elected president of Liberia

2003: Special Court for Sierra Leone indicts Taylor on initial charges; months later he steps down as president of Liberia and takes asylum in Nigeria

2006: Arrested in Nigeria and sent to The Hague for trial

2007: War crimes trial opens in The Hague

2012: Convicted of aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes, sentenced to 50 years in prison

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