Freetown - Victims of Sierra Leone's civil war on Wednesday welcomed a
50-year prison term for Liberia's former leader Charles Taylor for
backing the rebels who wrought terror in their country.
silence filled courtroom buildings in Freetown where hundreds had
gathered in front of giant television screens to hear Taylor's fate.
Hadji Jusu Jarka - former chairperson of the association of amputees,
who had both arms cut off by the rebels whom Taylor was convicted of
aiding and abetting in exchange for "blood diamonds" - voiced relief.
curtain has now been drawn on Charles Taylor," the war survivor said.
"I hope he will be haunted by his deeds as he languishes in jail."
the sentence was read out, those watching from Freetown showed little
outward joy. They had sat stonily as judge Richard Lussick gave a
harrowing account of the gruesome crimes committed during the 11-year
The audience included victims, leaders and civil society representatives.
rights activist Charles Mambu said of the sentence: "That's excellent!
It shows that it's no longer business as usual. Us as human rights
defenders, we are happy over the sentence."P