Ex-President Charles Taylor is keeping his fingers tightly crossed this morning as Judges of the Residual Court for Sierra Leone hand down a verdict into his request to serve his remaining 50 years prison term in a Rwandan jail rather than the U.K.
The Residual Court is responsible for the ongoing legal obligations of the Special Court for Sierra Leone that sentenced the ex-Liberian leader to 50-year jail term in 2012 for “aiding and abetting” RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.
“The decision on Charles Ghankay Taylor’s motion asking for the termination of the enforcement of his sentence in the UK and transfer to Rwanda will be delivered electronically tomorrow, 25 March 2015,” a statement from the Residual Court said Tuesday.
“All public documents relating to the motion are available on the RSCSL website at http://www.rscsl.org/RSCSL-Decisions.html,” the statement added.
Taylor has asked to serve the rest of his war crimes sentence in Rwanda, claiming that he has been subjected to inhumane treatment and denied the right to his family, while being detained in the UK.
Taylor’s lawyer and aides have repeatedly claimed that his wife and children have been unable to visit him in his UK prison situated in Durham County due to the bureaucracies surrounding the issuance of British visas.
He also claims that he fears for his dear life because fellow inmates some of whom are from Sierra Leone, a country where the crimes for which he has been sentenced may harm him.
Taylor was sentenced in 2012 and arrived in the UK in October 2013, after an appeal to overturn his conviction failed at the Special Court then sitting in The Hague, Netherlands.
His lawyer, John Jones, has insisted that it would be more “humane” for him, and his wife and 15 children, if he were to return to Africa to complete his sentence.
Rwanda, Jones says will be a more humane place for Taylor to be, as “everything is different here” – from the “freezing cold” weather to British food.
Taylor was convicted on 11 charges, including terrorism, rape, murder and the use of child soldiers by rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 civil war, in which some 50,000 people died.
He was found to have supplied weapons to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in exchange for blood diamonds.
The rebels were notorious for hacking off the limbs of civilians to terrorise the population.
Taylor has always insisted he is innocent and that his only contact with the rebels was to urge them to stop fighting.
From Othello B. Garblah, U.S.A