Liberian Charles Taylor moved to British prison to serve war crimes conviction

Liberia's former president Charles Taylor has been transferred to a British prison to serve his 50-year sentence for war crimes. There has been speculation that he will be sent to Belmarsh high security prison. A Ministry of Justice official declined to confirm that Taylor was in Britain or say in which prison he would serve his time. "We do not comment on individual cases," said a spokesman. The former president, 65, is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars after the UN-backed special court last month upheld his sentence for arming rebels during Sierra Leone's brutal civil war during the 1990s. Several Sierra Leone prisoners convicted by the SCSL court are already incarcerated in a special Rwandan jail that meets international standards.

Taylor's landmark sentence - on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity - was the first handed down by an international court against a former head of state since the Nazi trials at Nuremberg in 1946. He had been arrested in 2006 and sentenced at The Hague last year for "some of the most heinous crimes in human history". As Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, Taylor supplied guns and ammunition to rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone in a conflict notorious for its mutilations, drugged child soldiers and sex slaves, judges said. Taylor will be given credit for the time he served in detention since his arrest in March 2006, the court said.