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Charles Taylor sentence welcomed by mom who sheltered Liberians

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(Read caption) Former Liberian President Charles Taylor waits to hear his sentence for war crimes in the courtroom of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in the Netherlands, May 30, 2012. His 50-year sentence, is welcomed by an American journalist who fled the invasion just days after her wedding and now views the atrocities through the lens of a parent.

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It was with great satisfaction that I heard this morning of Charles Taylor’s sentence of 50 years in prison for his role in atrocities committed in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s.

I have a very personal – albeit indirect – relationship with Taylor. 

Before backing the unspeakable acts of murder, rape, and mutilation in neighboring Sierra Leone, he invaded his home country of Liberia in December 1989, in an attempt to unseat the then-dictator, Samuel Doe.  That was five days before my wedding to a US diplomat, Dennis Jett, who was the deputy-ambassador at our embassy in Monrovia. We went ahead with the ceremony anyway; Monrovia was a long way from the fighting upcountry and the invasion seemed a minor thing.

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That illusion was dispelled in the following months. Taylor and another rebel hacked their way through the country in what became a civil war of remarkable brutality. Never, even as a journalist working in other parts of Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, had I witnessed such wanton atrocities.


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