Liberia’s Charles Taylor transferred to UK

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LONDON – Ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor has arrived in the UK to serve the remainder of his 50-year prison sentence for war crimes.

He had asked the UN-backed special court in The Hague to serve his jail term in Rwanda instead.

Taylor was handed over to UK prison service representatives after his plane landed at 11:00 BST (10:00 GMT).

He was sentenced in May 2012 for aiding rebels who committed atrocities in Sierra Leone during its civil war.

The former president, 65, was convicted by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), but his trial was held in The Hague in case it sparked renewed unrest in West Africa.

The Netherlands only agreed to host the trial if he was imprisoned elsewhere.

In a statement, the SCSL said Taylor left the Netherlands on a chartered flight on Tuesday morning, "accompanied by Special Court detention and security officials".

He would be given credit for the time he had served in detention since his arrest on 26 March 2006, the statement said.

Last month, Taylor's appeal was rejected, with the court that ruling his guilt had been proved beyond doubt.

He was convicted on 11 charges including terrorism, rape, murder and the use of child soldiers by rebel groups in neighbouring Sierra Leone during the 1991-2002 conflict, in which some 50,000 people died.

The former Liberian leader was found to have supplied weapons to the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in exchange for so-called blood diamonds.

The rebels were notorious for hacking off the limbs of civilians to terrorise the population.

Taylor has always insisted he is innocent and his only contact with the rebels was to urge them to stop fighting.

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