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Charles Taylor's Lawyers Say Proposed Sentence is Vindictive

  • VOA News

Charles Taylor War Crimes

Charles Taylor War Crimes

Lawyers for Charles Taylor are protesting the 80-year jail sentence being sought by prosecutors after Taylor's conviction for crimes against humanity.

Taylor's attorneys on Friday filed documents saying the proposed sentence is "vindictive" and places too much of the blame for Sierra Leone's wartime atrocities on the former Liberian president.

The former president's sentence is due to be set May 30.

Last month, the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone found Taylor guilty on 11 counts of crimes against humanity, including acts of terrorism, murder and rape.

Prosecutors said Taylor masterminded Sierra Leone's civil war in the 1990s, arming and assisting rebels in exchange for "blood diamonds" mined in eastern Sierra Leone.

The court found Taylor did not have command and control of the rebels, but was aware of their activities and provided them with weapons and other supplies.

Taylor was arrested and handed over to the court in 2006, three years after his indictment and subsequent resignation as president.

The trial, which opened in 2007, was transferred from Freetown to The Hague amid regional security concerns.

The tribunal was established to try the most serious cases of war crimes rising from the Sierra Leone conflict. The Taylor case is expected to be the court's last major trial.

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