12 October 2018

Liberia: Agnes Taylor Pleas Not Guilty ... Of War Crimes Charges

Agnes Reeves Taylor, the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor has denied torture charges relative to the Liberian civil war, thus entering a not guilty plea of eight charges.

The former first lady appeared at the Old Bailey court via video Tuesday from Bronzefield Prison, in Surrey, where she is being held.

Madam Taylor, 52, faces accusations that she conspired to use rape to torture women during the war in 1990.

Madam Taylor, who previously worked as a lecturer and head of department at Coventry University, is also accused of being involved in the torture of a child, who was tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others and a rape case tied to the National Patriotic Front of Liberia.

Three more relate to the alleged torture of a 13-year-old boy by severely beating him and a fifth relates to the alleged torture of a man by severely beating him, while a sixth relates to the alleged torture of another man by shooting him in the leg.

The seventh relates to the alleged torture of an unnamed child, who was allegedly tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others, while the eighth relates to the alleged torture of a "pastor's wife" in 1990 by tying her up and her witnessing the shooting of her two children.

All of the alleged offences are said to have been committed while Ms. Taylor was "a public official or person acting in an official capacity".

Each of the torture counts states her alleged actions were "in the performance or purported performance of [her] official duties."

Agnes was picked up last June from her home in Dagenham, East London and arrested by the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit and charged the following day with one accusations of conspiracy to torture and three accusations of infliction of severe pain or suffering in the performance of official duties.

The former first lady is currently imprisoned at Dagenham in east London. The case is expected to open in January.

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