9 June 2017

Liberia: Charles Taylor's 'Wife' Jailed

Agnes Reeves Taylor has rebuffed torture charges brought against her by a London court.

The accused, who appeared in court Thursday, denied her involvement in any and all forms of torture as stated in the writ of summons.

British media said Madam Reeves, former wife of ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor, shook her head repeatedly as Prosecutor Karen Jones read out a summary of the case and detailed of the charges brought against her.

According to the report, it was an emotional scene for Madam Reeves Taylor when she appeared in court, but a statement from the Coventry University, where she lectures, said they are "liaising closely with the Metropolitan Police"

It is not known exactly what representation Coventry University intends to make on behalf of the wife of the former warlord president.

However, the report said as a "public official or person acting in an official capacity together with others unknown at Gbarnga, Liberia, the suspect intentionally inflicted severe pain or suffering on an individual in the performance or purported performance of her official duties".

Agnes Reeves Taylor, 51, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police's war crimes unit on Thursday of last week over alleged crimes committed during the Liberian civil war between 1989 and 1991.

Madam Taylor, of Kitchener Road, Dagenham, east London, was charged on Friday with four torture offences, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

In court, Agnes Reeves confirmed her name, age and address at the Westminster Magistrates Court when they were read to her. However, she denied any and all involvement as read by the prosecution.

The charges against Reeves Taylor, a lecturer at Coventry University's London campus, stem from a period between December 1989 and January 1, 1991.

She is accused of agreeing "with others unknown that a course of conduct would be pursued which, if the agreement was carried out in accordance with those intentions would necessarily amount to or involve the commission of the offence of torture", resulting in the alleged rape of seven women.

Reeves Taylor was remanded in custody and will appear for a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey on June 30. She is expected to formally enter a plea at the Old Bailey later this month.

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