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Liberia high court orders former interim president tried for corruption

[JURIST] The Liberian Supreme Court ruled Friday that former interim Liberian President Gyude Bryant [BBC profile] can stand trial on embezzlement charges. Bryant was charged [JURIST report] in February with embezzling $1.3 million during his tenure from October 2003 until January 2006. The indictment was based on an audit conducted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) [official website], which monitored the interim government after former Liberian President Charles Taylor [JURIST news archive] stepped down in August 2003.

Bryant's defense lawyers had urged the court to block his prosecution, arguing that Bryant was entitled to presidential immunity under the Liberian constitution [text]. Government lawyers, however, successfully argued that Bryant should not be entitled to immunity [Inquirer report] because he served as a caretaker and not a democratically elected president. Bryant was appointed by regional peace brokers to head Liberia as the country emerged from 14 years of civil war. AFP has more.

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