Former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor was convicted yesterday in The Hague after an international court convicted him on charges that included murder, rape, sexual slavery and enforced amputations.
The UK's The Guardian writes:
"The first African president to be prosecuted at an international court has been found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity for supporting rebels who carried out atrocities in Sierra Leone in return for "blood diamonds".
The historic judgment leaves Charles Taylor...facing a lengthy term in a British prison and will set a precedent that heads of state can no longer consider themselves immune to international justice."
But the Liberian-born Taylor spent his college years and more in the Boston area. According to the New York Times, he arrived in the U.S. in 1972 and studied economics at Chamberlayne Junior College in Newton. He got a degree from what was then Bentley College in Waltham in 1977.
The Times says he then returned to Liberia, became a leading dissident, and joining the government after a 1980 coup. But he was soon accused of embezzling $1 million from the government and ran away, back to the Boston area. In 1984, he was arrested in Somerville, but escaped the next year from the Plymouth House of Correction.
Four years later, in 1989, Taylor’s rebel group launches armed uprising in Liberia, sparking a conflict that left 200,000 dead. But the scope of the international court's mandate yesterday was only the mass atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Taylor reportedly faces many years in a British prison.