Documents detail Charles Taylor’s life behind bars

MONROVIA, Liberia — Former president Charles Taylor enjoys playing tennis with fellow inmates in The Hague but is worried about his safety once he is transferred to Britain to serve out his sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to new documents released by his lawyers.

Taylor has been on good behavior since his transfer to The Hague seven years ago, though he has spoken his mind to prison officials to object to changes in his living conditions, according to the documents given to the Associated Press. He also has a reputation for paying ‘‘particular attention to his deportment and appearance.’’

Taylor, 65, was arrested by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and transferred to The Hague in 2006. He received a 50-year sentence last year for sponsoring atrocities committed by the Revolutionary United Front rebels in Sierra Leone in exchange for ‘‘blood diamonds.’’ The rebels became notorious for widespread killings and amputations during an 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.


Last Thursday, United Kingdom Justice Minister Jeremy Wright revealed that Taylor would serve out his sentence in a British detention facility, despite Taylor’s request that he be transferred to Rwanda.

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In a letter dated that same day and included in the documents released by Taylor’s defense team, the convicted war criminal detailed his fears for his safety and the distance from his family should he not be permitted to return to Africa.

He said there were ‘‘a significant number of individuals of Sierra Leonean background’’ in British prisons who might attack him because his name is ‘‘now associated with horrendous atrocities.’’

Taylor, who was educated in Greater Boston, also expressed concern about his family’s inability to visit him.