Sierra Leone Trial: Prosecution Want 80 Years for Taylor

04 May 2012

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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor


Prosecutors in the trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor have said he should be handed an 80-year sentence following his war crimes conviction in The Hague last week.

In a brief, the team told the Special Court for Sierra Leone the "extreme magnitude" of the crimes he committed warranted the long-term sentence, reports the BBC.

The 64-year old was found guilty on 11 counts, including rape and murder, relating to the Sierra Leone civil war.

He will be sentenced on May 30.

During the 1991-2002 civil war Charles Taylor, who was president of neighbouring Liberia, backed Revolutionary United Front rebels who killed tens of thousands of people.

In return, he received "blood diamonds" collected by slaves.

In their sentencing brief, the prosecution team stated Taylor "was not a simple weapons procurer or financier".

Instead, they say he "planned the bloodiest chapter in Sierra Leone's war - the Freetown invasion" and was instrumental in supporting the rebels in their strategy of "murders, rapes, sexual slavery, looting, child soldiers... and other forms of physical violence and acts of terror".

An 80-year sentence, the prosecutors claim, would reflect the severity of the crimes and the central role he had in facilitating them.

After a five-year trial, Taylor became the first former head of state convicted by an international court since the Nuremburg trial of Nazis after World War II when he was found guilty last week.

A sentence hearing is expected be held on May 16, with the sentence to be handed down on May 30.

Taylor has a right to appeal against the conviction, but if he loses that appeal he is expected to serve his sentence in a British prison.

Tags: News, Africa, Sierra Leone, 80 Years, Taylor

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