African warlord serving 50 years in prison for crimes against humanity is suing Britain for denying him the right to a family life. Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president who reportedly ate the hearts of his enemies, says his incarceration in a jail in county Durham keeps him from his wife and 15 children in Africa.
The UK agreed to imprison Taylor, 66, after he 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 of people dead.
He has now lodged legal papers with the United Nations’ Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, the Daily Mail reported, claiming that his detention in the UK breaches his human rights.
Taylor is said to have written to the Dutch court arguing that his family should be able to visit him more easily.
He wrote: “My position is that serving my sentence in Rwanda, in my home continent of Africa, would be substantially more humane not only on my own account, but also on account of the impact on my family.”
He also said he feared being attacked by other inmates at HMP Frankland and that prisoners carrying out their “own brand of justice” will soon lead to him being seriously injured or killed
Charles Taylor leads rebels in a march on Monrovia in 1990, following which President Samuel Doe was mutilated and summarily executed
Taylor has appointed lawyers in England, including a QC, the Mail said, and with the case heard in the Netherlands could cost the Government tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.
Conservative MP Dominic Raab condemned the move, saying: “It shows the corruption of human rights that such a brutal warlord convicted of crimes against humanity including terrorism, rape and conscripting child soldiers, thinks he can claim jail violates his right to family life.
”If he’s successful, it would turn British human rights laws into a laughing stock around the world.“
A Ministry of Justice Spokesman said: ”Charles Taylor is being treated in accordance with the United Kingdom’s obligations and in the same way as any other prisoner in England and Wales.“
Taylor aided rebels in Sierra Leone during the brutal civil war in the 1990s which left 50,000 people dead.
Thousands more were left mutilated in the conflict that became known for the extreme cruelty of rival rebel groups who hacked off the limbs of their victims and carved their initials into opponents.
Taylor helped to plan attacks in return for ”blood diamonds“ mined by slave labourers in Sierra Leone and political influence in the volatile West African region.
He was convicted not only of aiding and abetting Sierra Leone rebels from Liberia, but also for actually planning some of the attacks carried out by Sierra Leone rebel groups, the Revolutionary United Front and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.