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Charles Taylor: UK jailing 'denies right to family life'

An African warlord who is serving 50 years in a prison in county Durham is reportedly suing the UK Government for denying him the right to a family life.

Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president who is alleged to have eaten the hearts of his enemies, says he is being kept from his wife and 15 children.

The former Liberian president says he is being kept from his family in Africa and is a "breach of human rights". Credit: PA

The 66-year-old was was convicted in 2012 of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including terrorism, murder, rape and using child soldiers during a civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990s that left tens of thousands dead.

He has reportedly lodged legal papers with the United Nations' Special Court for Sierra Leone, claiming that his detention in the UK breaches his human rights.

Conservative MP Dominic Raab said: "If he's successful, it would turn British human rights laws into a laughing stock around the world."

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Taylor sentence to reflect his 'position of authority'

Charles Taylor listens to his sentencing Credit: REUTERS/United Photos

Presiding judge Richard Lussick said that Charles Taylor's sentence of 50 years was supposed to reflect his position of authority.

The prosecution had recommended a sentence of 80 years, but the judge ruled this would be excessive as Taylor had not directly committed the crimes himself.

Judge Lussick said: "Leadership must be carried out by example by the prosecution of crimes not the commission of crimes.

"The sentence is intended to "underscore the gravity it attached to the betrayal of public trust."

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'Innocent lives destroyed' as a result of Taylor's actions

A young man has the initials of the Revolutionary United Front marked in his chest and his ear cut off Credit: Reuters

Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war.

The presiding judge Richard Lussick said: "The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions."

Last month, Taylor was convicted of 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity which included murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers.

Child soldiers from the RUF Credit: Reuters

Although the court could not prove that Taylor directly ordered these crimes, is found that he provided"sustained and significant" support to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels which committed many of the atrocities against civilians.

In particular, Taylor was found to have channeled weapons and ammunition to the rebels in exchange for "blood diamonds" mined using slave labor.

Charles Taylor prosecutor recommends prison term of 'no less than 80 years'

Brenda Hollis, the lead prosecutor in the Charles Taylor trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, has recommended a prison sentence of at least 80 years. At an interim hearing she said of the 64-year-old war criminal:

Considering the extreme magnitude and seriousness of the crimes that were committed against the people of Sierra Leone for which Taylor has been found responsible … the prosecution recommends that Charles Taylor be sentenced to a prison term of no less than 80 years. No significant mitigating circumstances exist in this case.

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