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On October 30, a federal jury in Miami issued a verdict in the first US prosecution for torture committed abroad, a case that Human Rights Watch worked actively to make a reality. The defendant, Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr., was accused of being responsible for torture in Liberia while heading a paramilitary unit from 1997 to 2003 during the presidency of his father, Charles Taylor, Sr. When Taylor Jr., a US citizen, was arrested for a passport violation in 2006 while trying to enter the United States, Human Rights Watch pressed US officials to investigate his case with a view to indicting him under a never-before-applied federal law on torture committed abroad that was enacted in the mid-1990s. We met with Justice Department officials and urged them to investigate in Liberia, highlighting Human Rights Watch research that documented crimes in which Chuckie Taylor was implicated. Concerned that there would be a lack of political will in the United States to pursue this case, Human Rights Watch repeatedly emphasized its importance both publicly and privately. During the trial, our press releases, interviews with national and international media, and presence in the courtroom helped to generate substantial coverage of the case's significance and the need for more prosecutions in both the United States and Liberia. Taylor Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2009.

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