Former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday Behind Bars Today

The organizing committee of the birth anniversary of former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor has announced an official program marking his 67th birthday today.

The program is expected to be held at Taylor’s “White Flower” residence in Congo Town in the absence of the honoree.  Mr. Taylor is currently serving a 50-year sentence in a jail in the United Kingdom for crimes against humanity and others.

The chairman of the ‘Ghankay 67th Birthday Anniversary,’ Atty. Edwin M. Martin, said the program will begin at 3 p.m. and will feature special prayers, singing of birthday song and speeches.

According to Atty. Martin, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Cabinet Members as well as lawmakers of the 53rd Legislature, have been invited.  Also invited to the celebration are the diplomatic corps, traditional, political and civil society organization leaders including youths, women and others groups.

Cllr. Cyrenius Cephas has been chosen to serve as keynote speaker.

When contacted, Cllr. Cephas confirmed being the guest speaker and said he will speak on: “Living and building our dream, a major step toward national reconciliation.”

He noted via mobile phone last night that his speech will come from the Bible specifically the book of Luke 10:25-37.

“My speech will be defining who your neighbor is,” Cllr. Cephas said. A few verses of that chapter in Luke read, “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life? Do what is written in the Law?” Jesus replied, “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,” the Bible says. “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

When contacted, the former Chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) which former President Taylor established, Chief Cyrus Allen, told the Daily Observer that Mr. Taylor is in high spirits, even though he is locked up in a UK jail.

Chief Allen disclosed that Taylor had sued the British Government for denying him the right to a family life.

Britain agreed to imprison Taylor 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 in the 1990s that left tens of thousands of people dead.

He has now 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. The trial is expected next month.

Charles Taylor led a rebellion in Liberia, which toppled the Samuel K. Doe regime in the 1990s.

Mr. Taylor was Liberia’s 21st President. He was born on January 28, 1948 in Arthington, Montserrrado County.

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