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Former Liberian president Charles Taylor gets 50-year prison sentence

Judges in The Hague sentenced former Liberian president Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison on Wednesday.

Taylor, 64, the first head of state convicted by an international court since the Second World War, had been found guilty of backing rebels who murdered, raped and mutilated tens of thousands of people in an 11-year war that ended in 2002.

“Mr Taylor, for the forgoing reasons, the trial chamber   unanimously sentences you to a single term of imprisonment of 50 years for all of the counts on which you’ve been found guilty,” presiding judge Richard Lussick said.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled last month that Taylor aided and abetted Revolutionary United Front rebels during an 11-year war which left 50,000 dead in Liberia’s West African neighbour by 2002.

The rebels raped and murdered civilians, hacked off the limbs of thousands of people in a campaign of terror while Taylor profited from trading in so-called blood diamonds that helped finance the conflict.

The court’s judges said Taylor knew about the brutality and had nonetheless helped equip and fund the rebels, giving them satellite phones and money.