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Breaking News:Ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor Sentenced To 50 Years In Prison.

The first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes since World War II was sentenced to 50 years in prison today Wednesday 3oth of May by an international court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The court convicted Taylor last month of aiding rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in a campaign of terror, involving murder, rape, sexual slavery and the conscription children younger than 15.

The prosecution had asked the Special Court for Sierra Leone for a sentence of 80 years for Charles Taylor, president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, but the judges found the recommendation “excessive” citing the “limited scope” of the conviction in some points.

There is no death penalty in international criminal law, and Taylor, 64, would serve out his sentence in a British prison.

Taylor directed his gaze downward while Presiding Judge Richard Lussick read the sentencing statement, which included a horror cabinet of atrocities committed in Sierra Leone by rebels the former president backed.

The former Liberian president is appealing his conviction and will receive credit for time already served since March 2006.

He does not see himself as a war criminal but as a victim — a leader wronged by corruption and a hypocritical hand of justice with a political agenda.

“I never stood a chance,” he said last week during his final courtroom stand last week. “Only time will tell how many other African heads of state will be destroyed.”

Taylor made a plea for why he should be spared the harshest sentence for his conviction on aiding and abetting war crimes.

He said he was saddened by last month’s guilty verdict, in which the court said he had assisted Revolutionary United Front rebels who fueled Sierra Leone’s long and bloody civil war that ultimately left 50,000 dead or missing.

Taylor, who has expressed no remorse, has insisted his intent was far from what had been portrayed by prosecutors and described himself as a peacemaker.

He blamed money for an unfair trial, claiming prosecutors received millions of dollars from the United States government and witnesses were paid off.

 

 

 

 

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