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Dutch Court Convicts Businessman for Arming Liberia's Taylor


A Dutch court has sentenced a businessman to eight years in prison for violating a United Nations arms embargo imposed on the government of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

The court Wednesday ruled that Guus Kouwenhoven illegally sold weapons to Taylor in exchange for timber, thus helping to arm west African militias. A defense lawyer says Kouwenhoven will probably appeal the ruling.

The court acquitted the Dutch businessman of war crimes charges, citing a lack of evidence to prove his complicity.

Prosecutors had sought a 20-year prisoni term for Kouwenhoven, arguing that by providing weapons he enabled the militias to commit atrocities.

Taylor is being held in Sierra Leone, awaiting his own trial on war crimes charges.

He faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, stemming from his role in Sierra Leone's civil war from 1991 to 2002. That conflict intertwined with neighboring Liberia's own civil war, which Taylor started in 1989.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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