The ex-wife of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president, has denied a string of torture charges, including one relating to a woman witnessing the shooting of her two children while she was tied up.
Agnes Taylor, 52, is also accused of conspiring to use rape to torture women during the west African country’s civil war in 1990. Another allegation states that the former university lecturer was involved in the torture of a child, who was tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others.
Ms Taylor appeared at the Old Bailey yesterday by video link from Bronzefield Prison, in Surrey.
She entered not guilty pleas to eight charges, which can be reported for the first time.
The first relates to alleged rapes by (National Patriotic Front of Liberia) NPFL forces in a village in Liberia. Three more relate to the alleged torture of a 13-year-old boy by severely beating him. A fifth relates to the alleged torture of a man by severely beating him, while a sixth relates to the alleged torture of another man by shooting him in the leg.
The seventh relates to the alleged torture of an unnamed child, who was allegedly tied to a tree and witnessed the shooting of others, while the eighth relates to the alleged torture of a “pastor’s wife” in 1990 by tying her up and her witnessing the shooting of her two children.
All of the alleged offences are said to have been committed while Ms Taylor was “a public official or person acting in an official capacity”.
Each of the torture counts states her alleged actions were “in the performance or purported performance of [her] official duties”.
Ms Taylor, of Dagenham, in east London, who previously worked as a lecturer and head of department at Coventry University, faces trial next January. She remains in custody.
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