Charles Taylor Sentenced to 50 Years

Former Liberian president expected to appeal
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2012 5:50 AM CDT
Updated May 30, 2012 6:50 AM CDT
Charles Taylor Sentenced to 50 Years
Charles Taylor waits for the start of his sentencing judgement in the courtroom of the Special Court for Sierra Leone(SCSL) in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday May 30, 2012.   (AP Photo/Toussaint Kluiters, Pool)

Charles Taylor is going away for 50 years. The former Liberian president, 64, was sentenced to a half-century in a British prison today, as international war crimes court judges blamed him for "some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history." But Taylor will likely remain in The Hague for months as his lawyers appeal his 11 convictions on charges of aiding and abetting the rebels during a decade-long war that killed more than 50,000.

Taylor was convicted of arming the rebels, knowing they intended to commit crimes against humanity, in return for "blood diamonds" obtained with slave labor. "The lives of many more innocent civilians in Sierra Leone were lost or destroyed as a direct result of his actions," the presiding judge said. Taylor had expressed "deepest sympathy" for victims at a hearing earlier this month, insisting all he had sought at the time was peace. No other former head of state has been convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II, the AP reports. (More Charles Taylor stories.)

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