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Civil wars in Liberia left destruction and destitution...
Civil wars in Liberia left destruction and destitution...

Dagenham woman charged with war crimes

THE WOMAN arrested in East London on Thursday by officers from the Metropolitan Place War Crimes Unit appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court today, Saturday, 3rd June, to answer three charges of conspiring with others to allow physical torture and rape to take place.

She has been named as Agnes Taylor, 51, aka Agnes Reeves-Taylor, former wife of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia. She was living at a house she owned in Kitchener Road, Dagenham, where she was arrested on Thursday, 1st June.

Charles Taylor became President of Liberia after a civil war ended in 1997. A second civil war broke out in Liberia in 1999: Taylor hung on for four years, but was forced to flee the country in 2003. He was jailed in 2012, after a UN Court found him guilty of backing the civil war in Sierra Leone. At the same time, the UN lifted sanctions against 17 Liberians who had been linked to him – including Agnes Taylor.

The two divorced in 1996. Agnes Taylor has been in the UK since 1999, having entered the country as an asylum seeker. She has been in the UK since, together with her brother and her two daughters, and has been working as a senior lecturer in business at Coventry University.

Three of the charges allege that, between 23rd December 1989 and 1st January 1991, while acting in her official capacity, together with others, she intentionally inflicted severe pain or suffering on an individual during the performance of her official duties in Gbarnga and Gborplay, Liberia. A fourth charge alleges that Taylor conspired with others to actions which would amount to torture.

The Court heard few additional details at this early stage of the prosecution. The prosecution explained that the charges related to the torture of seven women at the HQ of the National Patriotic Front, Charles Taylor’s political party, in Gbarnga – and alleged that the events amounted to “extremely grave” war crimes. They added that Taylor had denied that she was in any way involved with these events. Taylor spoke only to confirm her name and address.

At the end of the hearing, Taylor was remanded in custody until a pre-trial hearing at the Old Bailey on 30th June. The Judge stated that the charges were extremely serious and would, if proven, be bound to lead to a substantial prison sentence.

The Met Police War Crimes unit is appealing for any witnesses to relevant events in Liberia during the first Civil War (1989-92) to come forward. They are especially interested in events in Nimba County an Bong County. Anyone who can help should email the War Crimes Team on:
[email protected]

•Read more about it:
Was East London harbouring war criminal?

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