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Taylor defense team seeks end of Liberia travel ban

[JURIST] The lead counsel for former Liberian president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; SCSL case materials] Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to lift its travel ban [Resolution 1521, PDF; backgrounder] against individuals [list] deemed to be threats to the peace process in Liberia, saying that the defense team needs to be able to present favorable witnesses before the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] to testify on Taylor's behalf. Taylor's new defense team [JURIST report] has also requested additional time to prepare their case, delaying the trial [JURIST report], which was originally scheduled to resume on August 20. Defense lawyers hope the SCSL will postpone the trial until January 7, 2008.

Taylor faces charges [indictment, PDF] of murder, rape, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers during a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone [JURIST news archive]. Taylor has previously complained that his single-court appointed defense lawyer was unfairly outnumbered [JURIST report] by the prosecution. The criticism prompted the SCSL to add four people to his defense team and increase the funding available to Taylor [JURIST report] to approximately $100,00 per month, despite a UN report that concluded Taylor may control millions of dollars [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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