Charles Taylor faces life Imprisonment in British prison cell

Charles Taylor, the warlord who rose to lead Liberia, could become the first ex-president to be consigned to a British prison cell after judgment is delivered in his war crimes trial yesterday.

 Taylor, who ruled Liberia from 1997 until his downfall in 2003, is the first deposed head of state to face a verdict from international justice since Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, who briefly succeeded Hitler as head of the Nazi state, at the Nuremberg trials.

Taylor, the Baptist lay preacher, is accused of 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He allegedly armed and trained a rebel army, styling itself the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), which laid waste to neighbouring Sierra Leone during that country’s civil war between 1991 and 2002. The RUF’s fighters were infamous for their terror tactics, which included amputating their victims’ limbs, either at the elbow — known as “short sleeves” — or at the wrist, called “long sleeves”.

As many as 120,000 people died in Sierra Leone’s conflict, many at the hands of children drugged on mixtures of cocaine and gunpowder poured into special cuts inflicted on their arms. Taylor is accused of fuelling this war by giving the RUF guns in return for diamonds during his time as Liberia’s leader.

His aides allegedly passed on a pouch of these diamonds to Naomi Campbell after a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela, then South Africa’s president, according to the supermodel’s testimony. Miss Campbell told the court that Taylor’s aides had given her what looked like “dirty


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