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Liberia's Taylor 'ill-treated' in UK jail

30 October 2013, 00:06

Monrovia - Ex Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, who was sentenced to 50 years for war crimes and crimes against humanity, is being "ill-treated" in his British jail, his family claimed on Tuesday.

"Information we got revealed that he is not given food and even water... If this continues for the next two days, Taylor may die in jail," family spokesperson Sando Johnson told reporters at a press conference in the Liberian capital Monrovia.

The spokesman said friends and contacts had obtained the information on Taylor's jail conditions and the family had not been in contact with the ex-warlord since his transfer to a British jail earlier this month under tight security from The Hague, where he had been held since the start of his trial in 2007.

A source close to the family told AFP that Taylor's wife had been able to talk to him for ten minutes the day he was transferred to Britain, but not since then and she was "very worried."

Taylor's sentence on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity was the first handed down by an international court against a former head of state since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in 1946.

The UN's Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in charge of Taylor's case has not said which prison he has been sent to in Britain.

Taylor had asked to serve his sentence in a Rwandan prison rather than in Britain in order to be closer to his family.

As Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, Taylor supplied guns and ammunition to rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone in a conflict notorious for its mutilations, drugged child soldiers and sex slaves, judges ruled.

Taylor was found guilty of supporting the rebels during a civil war that claimed 120 000 lives between 1991 and 2002, in exchange for "blood diamonds" mined by slave labour.



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