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Former Liberian President Taylor Sentenced To 50 Years

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor

A UN-backed court has sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison following his conviction for war crimes in connection with the conflict in neighboring Sierra Leone.

The Special Court for Sierra Leone found Taylor guilty last month on 11 charges of aiding and abetting rebels who went on a bloody rampage during the decade-long Sierra Leone war that ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead.

Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said Taylor's crimes were of the "utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality."

Taylor, who denies wrongdoing, is expected to appeal.

The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters