- By Elizabeth DickinsonElizabeth Dickinson is a Gulf-based Deca journalist.
Chuckie Taylor, the son of former Liberian warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, was sentenced to 97 years in prison today for convictions of conspiracy, torture, and firearm possession by a federal judge in Miami. He was "lucky" to get just 97 — prosecutors were seeking 147 years.
Name doesn’t ring a bell? The case of Chuckie Taylor was one of our "Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2008", and his trial is important for two reasons. First, Taylor’s trial is the first conviction from a 1994 law allowing the U.S. to prosecute American citizens and anyone on U.S. soil for torture committed abroad. Taylor is a U.S. citizen, (he was born while his father lived in the United States) and tortured hundreds of Liberians during as commander of the so-called "Demon Forces," a special security unit meant to protect his father, the President, from 1999 to 2003. The precedent is now set for more cases to follow.
Chuckie Taylor’s trial is also important for Liberia. This is the first and only conviction in a war crimes trial for the war in Liberia; no tribunal has been setup in that country. Like father like son — Charles Taylor Sr. is on trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity, as well.
So don’t miss the Chuckie Taylor story this time around. And catch-up our other missed stories from 2008 before they crop up again.