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US Judge Awards Liberians $22 Million in Torture Case

Liberians sued Charles McArthur Emmanuel, son of former president Charles Taylor, for mental, physical suffering

A federal court in the U.S. state of Florida has awarded five Liberians $22.4 million in damages for torture ordered by the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

The Liberians sued Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Chuckie Taylor, for mental and physical suffering.

The group that represented the Liberians, Human Rights USA, said the award recognized what it called the "egregious nature and extraordinarily brutal acts" the victims suffered.

Last year, a U.S. federal court sentenced Taylor to 97 years in prison for torturing opponents of his father's rule.

According to the charges, Taylor and his colleagues burned victims in Liberia with cigarettes and hot irons, gave them electric shocks and beat them with firearms.

The trial was the first under a 1994 U.S. law allowing prosecution in U.S. courts for atrocities committed outside the country.

Taylor is a U.S. citizen who was arrested in 2006 after trying to enter the country from Trinidad with a false passport.

His father is on trial at The Hague on charges of committing war crimes during Sierra Leone's civil war. Liberia's former president denies doing anything wrong, and says he is the victim of an international conspiracy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.