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Former Liberia interim president arrested

[JURIST] Former interim Liberian President Gyude Bryant [BBC profile] was arrested Friday after he failed to appear in court on charges of corruption this week. Bryant was charged [JURIST report] in February with embezzling $1.3 million during his tenure from October 2003 until January 2006. The indictment was based on an audit conducted by the Economic Community of West African States [official website], which monitored the interim government after former Liberian President Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive] stepped down in August 2003. VOA has more.

Bryant's defense lawyers had urged the court to block his prosecution, arguing that Bryant was entitled to presidential immunity under the Liberian constitution [text]. Government lawyers, however, successfully argued that Bryant should not be entitled to immunity [Inquirer report] because he served as a caretaker and not a democratically elected president. Bryant was appointed by regional peace brokers to head Liberia as the country emerged from 14 years of civil war.

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