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Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor (born 28 January 1948) is a former Liberian politician who was the 22nd President of Liberia, serving from 2 August 1997 until his resignation on 11 August 2003.

Born in Arthington, Montserrado County, Liberia, Taylor earned a degree at Bentley College in the United States before returning to Liberia to work in the government of Samuel Doe. After being removed for embezzlement, he eventually arrived in Libya, where he was trained as a guerilla fighter. He returned to Liberia in 1989 as the head of a Libyan-backed resistance group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, to overthrow the Doe regime, initiating the First Liberian Civil War (1989–96). Following Doe’s execution, Taylor gained control of a large portion of the country and became one of the most prominent warlords in Africa. Following a peace deal that ended the war, Taylor coerced the population into electing him president in the 1997 general election.

During his term of office, Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002). Domestically, opposition to his regime grew, culminating in the outbreak of the Second Liberian Civil War (1999–2003). By 2003, he had lost control of much of the countryside and was formally indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. That year, he resigned as a result of growing international pressure and went into exile in Nigeria. In 2006, the newly elected President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf formally requested his extradition, after which he was detained by UN authorities in Sierra Leone and then at the Penitentiary Institution Haaglanden in The Hague, awaiting trial. He was found guilty in April 2012 of all eleven charges levied by the Special Court, including terror, murder and rape. In May of 2012, Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison. (Source: Wikipedia)

Interesting Biographical Snippets
  • Taylor was appointed by Doe as the Director General of the General Services Agency but was sacked in May 1983 for embezzling almost $1,000,000 and sending the funds to an American bank account.
  • Taylor fled to the United States but was arrested on May 21, 1984 by two US Deputy Marshals in Somerville, Massachusetts, on a warrant for extradition to face the charges of embezzlement. On 15 September 1985, Taylor and four other inmates escaped from the jail.
  • Taylor ran for president in the 1997 general election and campaigned on the slogan “He killed my ma, he killed my pa, but I will vote for him.” He won the election in a landslide, garnering 75 percent of the vote.
  • During his presidency, Taylor was accused of aiding the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) through weapon sales in exchange for blood diamonds.
  • The character Andre Baptiste, Sr. from the 2005 film ‘Lord of War’ is partially based on Taylor.
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