Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

31 October 2008

Chuckie Taylor convicted of torture

Chuckie Taylor convicted of torture
Chuckie Taylor, son of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, was found guilty of torture and related crimes by a US court on Thursday 30 October.

Taylor could face between 20 years to life imprisonment for the crimes he committed in Liberia, while serving as the head of the former Liberian President's Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU). These include the use of electric shocks on the genitals, burning victims with cigarettes and hot irons and melting plastic and rubbing salt into wounds.

According to media reports, sentencing is scheduled for 9 January 2009. The charges Taylor was convicted on cover acts of torture between 1999 and 2003.

This is the first conviction under the US Torture Victim Protection Act since that law was enacted in 1994. Chuckie Taylor is also the first person to be tried and convicted for crimes under international law committed during Liberia's decade-long conflict, which ended in 2003.

The trial of Chuckie Taylor (also known as Roy Belfast, Jr, Charles Taylor II and Charles MacArthur Emmanuel) started on 28 September 2008 in Miami, where he was originally arrested for passport fraud, before the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The federal anti-torture statute authorizes US Federal courts to exercise universal jurisdiction over persons found in the US who are suspected of torture committed anywhere in the world. The statute applies to US citizens and to those present in the United States, regardless of nationality and regardless where the crimes occurred.

Chuckie's trial took place at the same time that his father, Charles Taylor, was on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. The former president faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity he is alleged to have committed in Sierra Leone.

Liberia was embroiled in conflict characterized by war crimes and crimes against humanity between 1989 and 2003. In 2006 a new government came to power. To date, however, no one in Liberia has been investigated and prosecuted for torture or any other crime under international law.

In addition, the Liberian government has failed to enact the necessary legislation defining torture as a crime under national law consistently with the definition in the Convention against Torture. Amnesty International believes that just as prosecutors in the USA have now started to fulfil their responsibilities under the Convention against Torture to investigate and prosecute those alleged to have committed crimes against Liberians, the Liberian government, should without delay, enact the necessary legislation and implement it.






Torture And Ill-treatment 
Trials And Legal Systems 

@amnestyonline on twitter


22 July 2014

The Gambian government must abolish the laws and iron fisted practices that have resulted in two decades of widespread human rights violations, Amnesty International said as it... Read more »

24 July 2014

The prolonged execution of a prisoner in Arizona yesterday represents another wake-up call for authorities in the USA to abolish the death penalty, said Amnesty International... Read more »

22 July 2014

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.

Read more »
24 July 2014

Poland is the first European Union member state to be found complicit in the USA’s rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects, Amnesty International... Read more »

21 July 2014

Ahead of a legal intervention by Amnesty International and others in the rendition case of the Libyan national Abdul-Hakim Belhaj, Amnesty International... Read more »