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Son of Liberia warlord Taylor arrested in US

Written by: Staff
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MIAMI, Apr 1 (Reuters) A son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been charged with passport fraud and is in US custody, a spokeswoman for the US immigration service said today.

Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Charles ''Chuckie'' Taylor Jr, was arrested at Miami International Airport on Thursday night after flying in from Trinidad, and was accused of lying about his father's identity in a US passport application.

Emmanuel, 29, who was in charge of presidential security when his father ran Liberia, made an initial appearance in a Miami magistrates court yesterday, said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami.

Charles Taylor was captured last Tuesday near the border with Cameroon as he tried to flee Nigeria, where he had been living in exile.

He was flown in handcuffs to Sierra Leone where he faces 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity before a UN-backed Special Court for violations that occurred during the country's 1991-2002 civil war.

Taylor is likely to be transferred to a human rights court in the Netherlands because of fears his supporters may cause unrest in Sierra Leone and neighboring Liberia.

The US criminal complaint against his son, Emmanuel, a US citizen because he was born in the United States, said he did not identify Taylor as his father when he sought a new US passport at the US consulate in Trinidad and Tobago's capital, Port of Spain, this month.

The complaint says Emmanuel's mother, Bernice Yolanda Emmanuel, had told investigators that he joined his father in Western Africa before 1997 and lived in Liberia during Taylor's presidency up to 2003.

''According to her, Taylor appointed Emmanuel the head of Liberia's Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU),'' it said, adding that the ATU was in charge of Taylor's personal security.

Emmanuel is also included on a UN list of people banned from traveling to Liberia, but is listed under his other name, Charles ''Chuckie'' Taylor Jr., according to the complaint.

He is expected to make another court appearance next week.

Taylor was indicted by the special court in 2003, when he was President of Liberia, on charges that he fueled a decade-old war by giving Sierra Leone rebels arms in exchange for diamonds. Around 50,000 people died and the rebels were infamous for hacking off arms and legs.

REUTERS SHB RN0014

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