Liberia: Taylor’s Ex, Agnes Pleads ‘Not Guilty’; Rejects War-Crimes Related Charges in UK
LONDON – Agnes Reeves Taylor, the ex-wife of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, on Wednesday October 10 denied torture charges relating to the Liberian civil war, entering a plea of not guilty to eight charges.
The former first lady appeared at the Old Bailey court via video Tuesday from Bronzefield Prison, in Surrey, where she is being held.
Madam Taylor, 52, faces accusations that she conspired to use rape to torture women during the war in 1990.
Madam Taylor, who previously worked as a lecturer and head of department at Coventry University, is also accused of being involved in the torture of a child, who was tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others and a rape case tied to the National Patriotic Front of Liberia.
Three more relate to the alleged torture of a 13-year-old boy by severely beating him and a fifth relates to the alleged torture of a man by severely beating him, while a sixth relates to the alleged torture of another man by shooting him in the leg.
The seventh relates to the alleged torture of an unnamed child, who was allegedly tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others, while the eighth relates to the alleged torture of a “pastor’s wife” in 1990 by tying her up and her witnessing the shooting of her two children.
All of the alleged offences are said to have been committed while Ms. Taylor was “a public official or person acting in an official capacity”.
Each of the torture counts states her alleged actions were “in the performance or purported performance of [her] official duties”.
The family of the former first lady has maintained her innocence. Laurie Reeves-Bryant, a sister to Agnes told FrontPageAfrica in an interview last year that the former first lady had broken no laws in the UK.
“I can only conclude that this is a political witch hunt to further persecute associates of former Liberian President Charles Taylor”, the sister said.
Agnes was picked up last June from her home in Dagenham, East London and arrested by the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit and charged the following day with one accusations of conspiracy to torture and three accusations of infliction of severe pain or suffering in the performance of official duties.
The former first lady is currently imprisoned at Dagenham, in east London. The case is expected to open in January.