News / Africa

Ex-President Taylor Requests Government Pension

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appears at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, January 22, 2013.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appears at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, January 22, 2013.
Jennifer Lazuta
As former Liberian president and warlord Charles Taylor appeals his sentence for atrocities committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war, he also is asking the Liberian government to pay his pension and give diplomatic benefits to his family.  Taylor’s request, which is being discussed by the parliament this week, has led to fierce debate among Liberians.

In a letter to the Liberian legislature, dated September 12, 2012, ex-President Taylor claimed entitlement to all the benefits afforded to former presidents under Liberian law.

The secretary of the Liberian Parliament, Nagbolor Sengbeh, read Taylor’s letter to the Senate on Tuesday.

“As a citizen of Liberia, I am entitled to have access to consular and diplomatic services, but have been denied that right. I would like to have that right observed. I speak of privileges customarily given to former members of my first family, such as diplomatic passports for the wife and children," Sengbeh read. "This is a tradition observed and respected over the years, and I hope it can be honored.”

According to Liberia’s Executive Law, all former presidents and vice presidents are to receive a pension that is equal to 50 percent of the salary of the incumbent president, as well as be provided with a personal staff and facilities for the remainder of his or her life. The amount allotted for this should not be less than $25,000 per year.

Taylor served as president from 1997 until 2003, when he was forced to resign under mounting international pressure. He is widely criticized for his role in starting Liberia’s 1989 civil war and for supporting rebel forces during Sierra Leone’s civil war, which ended in 2002.

Last April, a U.N.-backed Special Court in The Hague sentenced Taylor to 50 years in jail for wartime crimes.

This controversial past has led to a debate over Taylor’s right to his pension. Daniel Diegar is a political science major at the University of Liberia. He said he believes Taylor deserves the benefits.

“While it is true he is being punished, it is still necessary that he has the benefits for his family. It doesn’t deny you of your rights. Being in prison it doesn’t deny you of any rights," Diegar noted. "It’s constitutional, so let his family benefit that.”

“Taylor was working against the legitimate government. So I strongly believe that Taylor does not reserve any benefit today, tomorrow, and it would be an advantage to make sure he does not receive any benefit because he committed huge atrocities against our people,” stated Naketah Williams.

Former president Moses Blah, who served as vice president under Taylor and took over the office when Taylor resigned, said the law is the law. “Yea, as former president of this country, he requires that. That is sure. Not even Liberia alone - other countries - the governments should take care of that person who is the former president of that country,” he added.

Lawmakers say the parliament could rule on Taylor’s pension claims as early as the end of this week.

Taylor also is appealing his conviction by the court in The Hague, and coincidentally, oral arguments are being heard this week. A decision by the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court of Sierra Leone on that case is not expected until later this year.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid