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21.05.15 – SCSL/TAYLOR – COURT REJECTS TAYLOR BID TO SERVE JAIL TERM IN RWANDA

Arusha, May 22, 2015 (FH) – The Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) on Wednesday put a final end to Charles Taylor’s bid to be moved from a jail in the UK to one in Rwanda. The convicted former Liberian president is serving a 50-year prison sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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In January the court rejected Taylor’s motion to be moved to a jail in Rwanda, where other SCSL convicts have been sent. A specially convened trial chamber on Wednesday turned down his request for permission to appeal the decision.  It said Taylor’s lawyers had failed to prove “exceptional circumstances” or “irreparable prejudice”.

Taylor had argued that he wanted to be closer to his family. His lawyer told the media that his wife and children had been unable to visit him in the UK. Taylor’s wife, Victoria Addison Taylor, also claimed that her husband was being detained with “terrorists and other British common law criminals” and was being “humiliated” every day.

In April 2012, the former Liberian President was convicted of crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery, cruel treatment and using child soldiers.  He was found guilty on the basis that he aided and abetted rebels in Sierra Leone who committed countless atrocities against civilians during that country’s civil war (1991-2002). On October 15, 2013, Taylor was transferred from the Netherlands to a high security prison near Durham, in northeast England.

Taylor’s was the last trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Dutch government agreed to host the trial at the premises of the International Criminal Court (ICC), following a request from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who feared instability in Liberia if Taylor were tried in Sierra Leone. The Netherlands agreed on the basis that if Taylor were convicted he would serve his sentence elsewhere. The UK agreed to take him.

JC

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