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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid