Jailed son of Liberia’s former president decries conviction

The son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, says he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice and wants his case reopened.

Roy M. Belfast Jr., better known as Chuckie Taylor, was born in the US.

He is serving a 97-year prison sentence in the United States for torture, conspiracy to commit torture and firearms charges originating from the brutal years of his father’s presidency.

Mr Taylor was the first to be convicted under the US Torture Victim Protection Act, which authorises US Federal courts to arrest and try anyone on US soil suspected of having committed torture anywhere in the world.

Speaking from his prison cell in the state of Virginia, he told Focus on Africa’s Audrey Brown that he believed his case had been exploited as “an extension of a foreign policy tool in order to stabilise Liberia”.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up after the civil conflict in Liberia; witnesses gave their statements, but the commission could not enlist Chuckie Taylor for prosecution because they did not have access to him at the time.

The TRC recommended the Liberian government open a domestic investigation, in which Chuckie Taylor could be prosecuted, however, to this day, this has not taken place.

However he accepted moral responsibility and apologised “for not advocating, or for not being aware that there are people who needed advocating for”.

Asked if he’s still in touch with his father, Mr Taylor says that he did not wish to speak to him and that “those ties have been severed permanently”.

Source: BBC

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