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Liberian former president appeals his jail sentence

THE HAGUE--Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor has appealed his conviction and 50-year jail sentence for war crimes in Sierra Leone, the international court handling the case said Thursday.

“Charles Taylor appeals against the judgment and the sentencing judgment ... and respectfully requests that (the) appeals chamber reverse all the convictions entered against him,” said the defense request made public by the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Taylor was found guilty in April of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierre Leone, for aiding and abetting “some of the most heinous crimes in human history.”

The former warlord was sentenced in May to 50 years in jail after his conviction on 11 counts for arming Sierra Leone's rebels in return for “blood diamonds” during the war which claimed 120,000 lives.

In the appeal document, his defense said the court had made “systematic errors” in evaluating evidence, and relied on “uncorroborated hearsay evidence as the sole basis for specific incriminating findings of fact.”

The prosecution, which had sought an 80-year jail term for Taylor, has also appealed, according to the court which is based outside The Hague.

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