Summary: Ex-wife of former Liberian president arrested and charged with torture

London, 5th June 2017: The Metropolitan Police have today charged Agnes Taylor with torture for her alleged involvement in atrocities committed by her ex-husband Charles Taylor’s rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, during the first Liberian Civil War. SRT grantee Civitas Maxima, along with its partner organisation the Global Justice and Research Project, provided the initial information to the UK authorities which led to the police investigation.

Agnes Taylor, now living in Dagenham, was charged with complicity in the rape and torture of seven women in Liberia between 1989 and 1991. She claimed asylum in the UK in 1999 and at the time of her arrest was working as a senior lecturer at Coventry University.

Charles Taylor’s invasion of Liberia with the National Patriotic Front in 1989 triggered the civil war, and he was subsequently Liberian President between 1997 and 2003. He was convicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2012 of planning, aiding and abetting crimes committed by Sierra Leonean rebels, including murder, rape and acts of terrorism, and is currently serving a 50-year sentence. However to date he has never been held accountable for the crimes he committed in Liberia.

This landmark case marks the second time someone formerly associated with the National Patriotic Front has been charged with crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars. The first case involved front line Commander Martina Johnson, who was arrested in Belgium in September 2014 for her alleged role in wartime atrocities.

It is the fourth time since 2014 that the collaborative work between Civitas Maxima and its partners in Africa has led to information being passed to European authorities resulting in the arrest of an alleged perpetrator of international crimes.

Return to grantee stories