An African warlord serving a 50-year sentence in an English jail for crimes against humanity claims he is being denied the right to a family life.
Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president and alleged cannibal, says his incarceration in County Durham keeps him from his wife and 15 children in Africa.
The UK agreed to imprison Taylor, 66, after he was convicted in 2012 of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including terrorism, murder, rape and using child soldiers during a civil war in Sierra Leone that kiled 50,000 people.
He has lodged legal papers with the United Nations’ special court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, claiming that his detention in the UK breaches his human rights.
Taylor’s lawyer John Jones QC claimed it would save UK taxpayers’ money if the war criminal was allowed to serve his sentence in Rwanda alongside the other prisoners convicted by the court where his family could visit him.
Taylor wrote: “My position is that serving my sentence in Rwanda, in my home continent of Africa, would be substantially more humane not only on my own account, but also on account of the impact on my family.”
He also said he feared being attacked by other inmates at HMP Frankland and that prisoners carrying out their “own brand of justice” will soon lead to him being seriously injured or killed.
Mr Jones said: “He is not suing the British Government, he is not seeking damages from the UK and, on the contrary, for the UK taxpayer it would be much, much cheaper if he were to serve his sentence in Rwanda.”
He said British immigration officials were blocking family visits because they feared they would not return to Liberia, which he called “ridiculous”.
Conservative MP Dominic Raab told the Daily Mail: “If he’s successful, it would turn British human rights laws into a laughing stock around the world.”