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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Taylor bids to halt truth probe
Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor stood down in 2003, ending Liberia's civil war
Supporters of former Liberian President Charles Taylor have asked the Supreme Court to stop testimony against him at a truth and reconciliation commission.

The court says it is studying the petition and will decide soon.

Mr Taylor is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court and his supporters fear that testimony in Liberia could prejudice the case.

He is accused of backing Sierra Leonean rebels, who fought a brutal 10-year war in the 1990s.

"[Taylor] is entitled to a free and fair trial... and this cannot be obtained when [he] is on trial in The Hague and the commission is... receiving and publishing evidence against him to the entire world," said the petition filed by a campaign group run by Mr Taylor's former national security adviser John Richardson.

Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission - modelled on a similar body in South Africa - began hearing testimony this month into the country's 14-year civil war, a conflict started by Mr Taylor in late 1989 when he led an uprising against then-President Samuel Doe.

Early last week, a former combatant Mohammed Sheriff told the commission that he was in a group of former Taylor fighters who killed and maimed Sierra Leoneans on Mr Taylor's orders.

Mr Taylor's lawyers dismissed Mr Sheriff's testimony as false, saying "these kinds of lies and publications certainly do have legal capacities to effect the petitioner's ongoing trial in The Hague, Holland."

About 200 people have been trained and deployed throughout the country to document evidence of abuses from Liberia's civil war, which ended when Mr Taylor went into exile in August 2003.


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