News / Africa

Sierra Leone Expels Charles Taylor Ally

Sierra Leone's rebel leader Foday Sankoh (2nd R) is flanked by senior aides at the formal opening in Lome, Togo of talks with his guerrilla field commanders and United Nations officials on ending Sierra Leone's civil war. Others (from left) are Sankoh's m
Sierra Leone's rebel leader Foday Sankoh (2nd R) is flanked by senior aides at the formal opening in Lome, Togo of talks with his guerrilla field commanders and United Nations officials on ending Sierra Leone's civil war. Others (from left) are Sankoh's m
Sierra Leone officials say they have deported a notorious arms dealer and ally of former Liberian President Charles Taylor who was facing criminal charges. But the whereabouts of the suspect, Ibrahim Bah, were unknown on Tuesday, as his native Senegal denied having received him.
 
Justice Minister Frank Kargbo did not confirm that Ibrahim Bah had been kicked out of the country until late on Monday, the same day a court in Freetown issued a warrant for his arrest.

Kargbo provided no details beyond saying that Bah was destined for Senegal.

Bah faces charges including assault and kidnapping, stemming from a private complaint brought by a man in Sierra Leone's eastern Kono district. The man says Bah threatened to kill him and held him against his will for several days.

The private case was filed after it became clear that Sierra Leonean authorities had no interest in trying Bah, who United Nations experts discovered living in the country earlier this year. His whereabouts were unknown until the experts released their report in May. Bah has been under a U.N. travel ban since 2004.

Ibrahim Tommy, executive director for the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law in Freetown, said Sierra Leonean officials were never enthusiastic about the case and had indicated they would not help out with the private prosecution.

"They have told us from the get-go that they didn’t have the resources, they didn’t have the time to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of Kono district," said Tommy.

Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison last year after the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone found him guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone's civil war.

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.
x
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appearing in court at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Leidschendam, Jan. 22, 2013.
​Although Bah was not charged by that court, he played a critical role in Taylor’s crimes. Judges concluded that he was a “trusted emissary” of Taylor’s who helped arrange arms and diamond transfers with rebels in Sierra Leone.

Human rights groups and other observers argued that a trial of Bah in Sierra Leone would allow the country to showcase how far its judiciary has come since the U.N. tribunal began work in the country.

Instead, Tommy said, the country’s decision to deport Bah showed a failure of the judiciary to support victims of the country’s 11-year conflict, which ended in 2002.

“We would’ve hoped that the government would support our efforts, would support the victims who have brought this matter against Ibrahim Bah," he said. "They have the right to justice. Ibrahim Bah must, we insist, he must have his day in court.”

Human Rights Watch said that with Bah's deportation, Sierra Leone has "taken a real step backward on promoting justice for grave crimes."

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid