Prosecutors demand 80-year sentence for Charles Taylor

Reuters News
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Posted: May 03, 2012 4:55 PM
Prosecutors demand 80-year sentence for Charles Taylor

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Prosecutors have demanded an 80-year jail term for former Liberian president Charles Taylor who was last week convicted of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.

In a brief filed to judges at a special court in The Hague, the prosecution said Taylor's position as a head of state and the "length of time during which the crimes continued" were aggravating circumstances that necessitated a lengthy jail term.

Last week judges ruled that Taylor, 64, had helped the militias which, during the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone, had perpetrated acts of terror against the civilian population, disemboweling and mutilating their victims, and recruiting child soldiers.

Until now, the longest sentence imposed by the Special Court for Sierra Leone was one of 52 years, handed down to Issa Sesay, a commander in the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) militia that was responsible for some of the war's worst brutality.

The prosecution had sought to have Taylor convicted of direct criminal responsibility for human rights violations committed during the course of the conflict, but judges found that Taylor had not been in a position of direct command.

Judges are due to sentence Taylor at the end of this month, following which both sides are expected to appeal.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Sara Webb)