Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ex-Liberian dictator's son indicted for torture

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- The son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor was indicted Wednesday on U.S. charges of committing torture as chief of a paramilitary unit during his father's regime. The indictment marks the first time a 12-year-old federal anti-torture law has ever been used, U.S. officials said. Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Chuckie Taylor Jr., was charged with committing torture overseas as a U.S. citizen as well as conspiracy. Emmanuel, 29, was born in Boston in 1977 to a former girlfriend of Taylor's. The woman was a college student there at the time. The younger Emmanuel is already in custody in Miami, awaiting sentencing for falsifying his father's name to get a passport he used to enter the United States in March. Emmanuel headed the Anti-Terrorist Unit in Liberia after his father became president in 1997. Human Rights Watch, an international rights group, and Liberian witnesses have said the unit was involved in many other murders, torture, abuse of civilians, recruitment of child soldiers and looting. The indictment said that in 2002, a man was abducted from his home, and Emmanuel and others burned him with an iron, forced him at gunpoint to hold scalding water, applied electric shocks to his genitals and other body parts and rubbed salt in this wounds. Emmanuel's court-appointed lawyer, Miguel Caridad, declined comment. In June Charles Taylor was taken to the detention center of the International Criminal Court in Scheveningen in The Hague. Taylor faces trial in the Netherlands court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for allegedly overseeing the murder, rape and mutilation of thousands of people during Sierra Leone's bloody 10-year civil war. The conflict, fought primarily by teenagers and children, centered on the region's diamond trade. Most of the young fighters were given addictive drugs to make them aggressive. In April before a U.N.-backed tribunal in Sierra Leone, the senior Taylor pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which include terrorizing a civilian population and sexual slavery. Taylor was president of Liberia until 2003, when he was forced from office under heavy international pressure, much of it from the United States, according to CNN. He lived in exile in Nigeria until that nation, earlier this year, was persuaded by political pressure to hand him over for the tribunal. He was caught attempting to cross into Chad and arrested by border guards. In November, CNN reported, Liberia elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as president, making her the first female elected president on the African continent.

Source: Ex-Liberian dictator's son indicted for torture - CNN.com