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Charles Taylor campaigns from his UK prison

Publish date: 09 October 2017
Issue Number: 746
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: General

Liberia's former President Charles Taylor is currently serving a 50-year sentence for war crimes in a prison in the UK city of Durham. With elections in his homeland just a week away, he still holds considerable sway in the West African nation. In an unlikely alliance, former world footballer of the year George Weah, who is running on the presidential ballot for the third time, has chosen Taylor's ex-wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, as his deputy. Having historically been a staunch critic of Taylor and his National Patriotic Party (NPP), questions are being asked of the motives. BBC News reports that the union between Weah's Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and the NPP came just before a phone call from the former warlord at his high-security prison was broadcast to a gathering of his supporters in January this year. He said ‘this revolution is my life’, he advises his people not to betray the party. Weah rejected the idea that strings were being pulled. ‘Charles Taylor is not running the campaign for us,’ he said. Defending his choice of running mate he said: ‘People love her, she was the mother of this nation.’ Legalbrief reports that Taylor was formally indicted for war crimes charges by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2003. He was detained by UN authorities in Sierra Leone and then at The Hague, awaiting trial by the Special Court in Sierra Leone. He was found guilty in April 2012 of all 11 charges, including terror, murder and rape. Said presiding Judge Richard Lussick: ‘The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history.’

Charles Taylor profile

Full BBC News report