Son of Liberia's ex-leader gets 97 years in U.S. torture case

Miami HeraldJanuary 9, 2009 

The son of ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor was sentenced to 97 years in prison on Friday in a landmark torture case that grew out of a U.S. investigation into arms trafficking in Liberia.

Charles ''Chuckie'' Taylor Jr. was convicted in October of leading a campaign of torture against people opposed to his father's rule. Although he wasn't charged with killing any of them, his indictment alleged that he killed at least one of seven victims.

Federal prosecutors have cited the murder allegation in recommending that U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga send the former Orlando resident to prison for 147 years, stemming from his convictions on eight conspiracy, torture and firearm charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Heck Miller called Taylor's violent conduct a ''gross offense against the public,'' urging the judge to impose consecutive sentences.

His defense lawyers countered that Taylor, 31, was not convicted of murder and therefore should be imprisoned for seven to 20 years.

Taylor Jr. was tapped by his father to command an anti-terrorist unit called the ''Demon Forces'' that beat, burned and beheaded Liberian civilians from 1999 to 2003, the jury concluded.

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