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HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

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HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

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During the reign of Liberian President Charles Taylor, torture and other crimes against humanity became the norm. Many of these atrocities were carried out by the Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU), which was an elite, personalized military force led by Taylor’s son, Chuckie Taylor aka Roy Belfast (his legal name). A U.S. citizen, Chuckie used his citizenship status and patronage to abuse his role as commander of the ATU. Acting with complete impunity, the ATU quickly gained a reputation for its brutality and use of a variety of torture methods that Chuckie either supervised or carried out himself. [1] [2]

In 2006, Chuckie was arrested in Florida for attempting to enter the United States under a falsified passport. After being detained for some months, criminal charges were filed against him for torture and conspiracy to commit torture. [3]

In pursuit of filing a civil suit, CJA represented an individual who was personally tortured by Chuckie and had been investigating him since his arrest in 2006. CJA supported the prosecution against him in criminal court.

On January 9, 2009, Taylor was sentenced to ninety-seven years in prison under a 1994 federal law allowing prosecution for acts of torture committed overseas. He is the only person ever to be prosecuted and convicted under this law.

 

[1] Colin Waugh, “Charles Taylor and Liberia: Ambition and Atrocity in Africa’s Lone Star State.”

[2] Human Rights Watch, “Q&A Charles ‘Chuckie’ Taylor, Jr.’s Trial in the United States for Torture Committed in Liberia” September 23, 2008. Available here

[3] Trial International, “Chuckie Taylor” December 4, 2016. Available here

[4] U.S. v.s. Belfast. Available here