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Tipoteh Prevented Taylor's Extradition...Testifies At TRC Hearings

Veteran politician Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh said he prevented the deportation of former President Charles Taylor from both the United States and Ghana during the reign of slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe.

Dr. Tipoteh said he intervened to stop the extradition of Mr. Taylor first from the US and then Ghana because he was convinced that the former president could not have received a fair trial under the government of President Doe.

Addressing commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Monday at the ongoing Thematic, Institutional and Inquiry Hearings at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia, Dr. Tipoteh said he stopped the extradition because the Doe government was characterized by gross human rights abuses and excesses.

Taylor was arrested first in the United States and later Ghana upon the request of the then government for allegedly embezzling nearly a million dollars while he served as Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA).

Tipoteh said during Taylor's extradition proceedings in the US he was contacted by then US attorney general Ramsey Clarke at which time he intervened to stop his extradition to Liberia. When Taylor again fled the United States to Ghana, Dr. Tipoteh said he also intervened to stop an attempt by the Ghanaian government to send him back to Liberia.

The first Minister of Planning for Economic Affairs in the People Redemption Council (PRC) military junta said he got acquainted with Taylor when they served in the PRC government.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tipoteh has recalled what he said was the cruelty of the hut tax policy of past governments which he said subjected the Liberian people to unwarranted suffering and hardship.

He recounted how the government of former President William V. S. Tubman subjected poor and low income earners, mostly farmers in rural Liberia to compulsorily paying hut tax.

Dr. Tipoteh said the policy was cruel and brutal. He recounted the experience of a poor man in Sinoe County who he told Commissioners was tied and maltreated for delinquency in paying the hut tax.

He vowed to resist any attempt by future governments to impose hut tax on the Liberian people.

Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings will address the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.

The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005.

The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

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