Telegraph (London), October 15, 2013
Liberia’s former president Charles Taylor has been transferred to a British prison to serve his 50-year sentence for war crimes.
The former warlord was moved on Tuesday morning to an unspecified British prison after being guilty of war crimes committed in Sierra Leone.
He had asked the UN-backed special court in The Hague to serve his jail term in Rwanda instead, which he said would be easier for his family.
The plea fell on deaf ears and Taylor, the first head of state to be convicted since the Nuremberg trials, was handed over to representatives of Her Majesty’s Prison Service after his plane landed at 11am, the Hague court said.
“Charles Ghankay Taylor . . . was transferred today from the Netherlands and the custody of the Special Court to the United Kingdom, where he will serve the remainder of his 50-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Taylor is likely to serve the rest of his sentence in a British jail, according to a confidential deal made in 2007 shortly after Taylor’s arrest.
The former president, 65, is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars after the UN-backed special court last month upheld his sentence for arming rebels during Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war during the 1990s.
Taylor’s landmark 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.
He had been arrested in 2006 and sentenced at The Hague last year for “some of the most heinous crimes in human history”.
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 said.
Taylor will be given credit for the time he served in detention since his arrest in March 2006, the court said.