Liberia’s Charles Taylor transferred to UK

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Ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor has arrived in the UK to serve the remainder of his 50-year prison sentence for war crimes.

He had asked the UN-backed special court in The Hague to serve his jail term in Rwanda instead.

Taylor was handed over to UK prison service representatives after his plane landed at 11:00 BST (10:00 GMT).

He was sentenced in May 2012 for aiding rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war.

Taylor was convicted of backing Sierra Leonean rebels in the civil war, during which the UK was the main international supporter on the side of the government.

After British troops helped defeat the rebels backed by Mr Taylor in 2000, the British army embarked on a long-term retraining programme for the Sierra Leone armed forces. British aid workers meanwhile ran long-term development programmes and mentored the government.

So the jailing of Taylor – and the British role in facilitating it – will be seen by the British as another part of the same strategy.

Sierra Leone is still very poor and corruption is a major issue. But it is peaceful and democratic. It is a far, far better place than it was during the war years.

Charles Taylor: Preacher, warlord, president
The former president, 65, was convicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), but his trial was held in The Hague in case it sparked renewed unrest in West Africa.

The Netherlands only agreed to host the trial if he was imprisoned elsewhere.

In a statement, the SCSL said Taylor left the Netherlands on a chartered flight on Tuesday morning, “accompanied by Special Court detention and security officials”.

He would be given credit for the time he had served in detention since his arrest on 26 March 2006, the statement said.

Last month, Taylor’s appeal was rejected, with the court that ruling his guilt had been proved beyond doubt.

He was convicted on 11 charges including terrorism, rape, murder and the use of child soldiers by rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 conflict, in which some 50,000 people died.

The former Liberian leader was found to have supplied weapons to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in exchange for so-called blood diamonds.

TAYLOR
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The rebels were notorious for hacking off the limbs of civilians to terrorise the population.

Taylor has always insisted he is innocent and his only contact with the rebels was to urge them to stop fighting.

read more at BBC

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