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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 11:01 GMT
'Death threats' over Taylor trial
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor in court, 7 January 2008
Charles Taylor is accused of stoking the 1991-2001 Sierra Leone war
The family of a key prosecution witness in the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor say they have received death threats.

Vamba Sherif told the BBC that unknown men had entered the family home's compound in Monrovia, shouting insults and saying they would all be killed.

His brother Varmuyan Sherif has told Mr Taylor's trial that the former leader had close ties to Sierra Leone rebels.

Mr Taylor has denied charges he ordered the rebels' atrocities.

Vamba Sherif said the men fled before the police arrived.

He said that a few days later, a leaflet was left in the yard, repeating the death threats.

Rebel links

Mr Taylor's trial was moved to The Hague in the Netherlands because of fears that his trial in West Africa could lead to renewed instability in the region.

Both Liberia and Sierra Leone are slowly recovering from years of conflict.

The prosecution are trying to prove the former president's links to rebels in Sierra Leone.

Varmuyan Sherif, one of his former aides, has told the court that Mr Taylor set up a guest house for them in the Liberian capital, Monrovia.

He also said rebel fighters crossed into Liberia from Sierra Leone to aid Mr Taylor's forces when they were attacked by Liberian rebels.

Mr Taylor, 59, is the first former African leader to face a criminal trial internationally.

The ex-Liberian president is accused of responsibility for the actions of RUF rebels during the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone, which included unlawful killings, sexual slavery, use of child soldiers and looting.

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