MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- The son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor was
indicted Wednesday on U.S. charges of committing torture as chief of a
paramilitary unit during his father's regime.
The indictment marks the first time a 12-year-old federal anti-torture law has
ever been used, U.S. officials said.
Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Chuckie Taylor Jr., was charged with
committing torture overseas as a U.S. citizen as well as conspiracy.
Emmanuel, 29, was born in Boston in 1977 to a former girlfriend of Taylor's. The
woman was a college student there at the time.
The younger Emmanuel is already in custody in Miami, awaiting sentencing for
falsifying his father's name to get a passport he used to enter the United
States in March.
Emmanuel headed the Anti-Terrorist Unit in Liberia after his father became
president in 1997.
Human Rights Watch, an international rights group, and Liberian witnesses have
said the unit was involved in many other murders, torture, abuse of civilians,
recruitment of child soldiers and looting.
The indictment said that in 2002, a man was abducted from his home, and Emmanuel
and others burned him with an iron, forced him at gunpoint to hold scalding
water, applied electric shocks to his genitals and other body parts and rubbed
salt in this wounds.
Emmanuel's court-appointed lawyer, Miguel Caridad, declined comment.
Liberia's justice system, damaged by years of civil war, is in no shape to
pursue the case against Emmanuel, said Elise Keppler counsel for Human Rights
Watch's International Justice Program.
"Given Chuckie Taylor's links to serious human rights abuses in Liberia, this
indictment is especially significant for victims there," Keppler said.
In June his father Charles Taylor was taken to the detention center of the
International Criminal Court in Scheveningen in The Hague.
Taylor faces trial in the Netherlands court on charges of war crimes and crimes
against humanity for allegedly overseeing the murder, rape and mutilation of
thousands of people during Sierra Leone's bloody 10-year civil war.
The conflict, fought primarily by teenagers and children, centered on the
region's diamond trade. Most of the young fighters were given addictive drugs to
make them aggressive.
In April before a U.N.-backed tribunal in Sierra Leone, the senior Taylor
pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which include terrorizing a
civilian population and sexual slavery.
Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, who leads U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement, said the son's indictment sends a message that the
United States is not a sanctuary for human rights violators.
"We must never deny safe haven to those with a genuine and legitimate fear of
persecution. But we must also ensure that those who come here seeking freedom
and rule of law do not have to fear that their oppressor may be come their
neighbor," Myers said.
Taylor was president of Liberia until 2003, when he was forced from office under
heavy international pressure, much of it from the United States, according to
He lived in exile in Nigeria until that nation, earlier this year, was persuaded
by political pressure to hand him over for the tribunal. He was caught
attempting to cross into Chad and arrested by border guards.
In November, CNN reported, Liberia elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as president,
making her the first female elected president on the African continent.
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