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Three charged with plotting to free ex-Liberia president Taylor granted bail

[JURIST] A magistrate in Sierra Leone Wednesday granted bail of $8,000 each to three men charged with inspecting a prohibited area and conspiracy to assist former Liberian president Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] escape from prison at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website; JURIST news archive], a war crimes tribunal. The suspects were reportedly caught photographing the jail [Reuters report] earlier this month and were originally released for lack of evidence [Awareness Times report]. The three men, former US soldier Michael Chemidlin and Sierra Leoneans Felix Rogers and Collins Kamara, were re-arrested and charged last week. Chemidlin claims he is innocent, and his lawyer requested that he be admitted to a hospital for symptoms of malaria. The court set a hearing for May 30.

Taylor, indicted by the SCSL for war crimes and crimes against humanity [indictment, PDF] and now facing trial after his capture [JURIST report] in March, is fighting requests [JURIST report] to have his own proceeding moved from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands. He escaped from prison in Massachusetts in 1985. AP has more.

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