NEW: Sentence reflects "horror and torture" visited upon victims, state
(CNN) -- The son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor Sr. was sentenced
Friday to 97 years in prison for charges including torture and conspiracy,
according to a federal court in Florida.
The U.S.-born son of Charles Taylor Sr., pictured, moved to Liberia when his
father became president.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga sentenced Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr.,
31, in a Friday morning session that lasted four hours, according to a court
Altonaga cited Taylor's "sadistic, cruel and atrocious past," saying it "constituted
unacceptable, universally condemned torture," The Miami Herald reported.
"The lengthy prison term handed down today justly reflects the horror and
torture that Taylor Jr. visited upon his victims," said Matthew Friedrich,
acting assistant attorney general of the criminal division.
Taylor, also known as Charles McArthur Emmanuel, was convicted October 30 of
torture, conspiracy to commit torture and firearm charges.
His case, tried in Miami, was the first brought under a 1994 U.S. law saying
those accused of committing torturous acts overseas can be tried in a U.S.
Calls to Taylor's defense attorneys were not immediately returned.
Prosecutors had asked for Taylor to be sentenced to 147 years.
Taylor was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but he moved to Liberia when his
father was named president.
Prosecutors said Taylor became the leader of the Anti-Terrorist Unit and the
Liberian National Police while his father was president. The two groups are
accused of abducting, torturing and killing people.
From 1999 to 2002, Taylor committed torture and allowed others to commit
torture, prosecutors said.
Taylor and his associated burned victims with molten plastic, lighted cigarettes,
candle wax and an iron. Some were severely beaten with firearms, cut and stabbed
and shocked with an electric device, prosecutors said in an indictment that
superseded the initial indictment from 2006.
In the initial indictment, Taylor was charged with one count of torture, one
count of conspiracy to torture and one count of using a firearm during the
commission of a violent crime.
The superseding September 2007 indictment -- which incorporated the initial
charges -- included five counts of torture, one count of conspiracy to torture,
one count of using a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and one
count of conspiracy to use a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
The defense had said the U.S. government had little or no evidence to back up
Also Friday, the World Organization for Human Rights USA filed a civil class
action suit against Taylor on behalf of a group of people who are said to have
been subjected to torture and other human rights abuses by Taylor or his
subordinates, according to the organization.
The suit seeks declaratory relief and general, compensatory and punitive damages,
the organization said in a written statement.
"This civil suit aims to address Defendant Taylor's wrongs on a much greater
scale" than the criminal trial, the organization said.
Taylor's father, Charles Taylor Sr., is standing trial in The Hague, Netherlands,
on war crimes charges.