By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
Liberia’s convicted former Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) Commander, Charles MacArthur Taylor, Jr., popularly known as “Chucky” Taylor made a public conditional apology to the Liberian people when he said on Saturday, May 31, “I’m sorry if I had done anything to offend anyone.”
“If I, at any point created a perception of things that I did, or that you may have perceived that I have done and things that were said about me of what I might have done, I apologize,” he told the live interview scheduled for Saturday at 2:00 p.m., Central Standard Time, 3:00 p.m. Eastern and 7:00 p.m. Liberian time.
Addressing a question posed to him on what he had to tell the Liberians back home, from his federal prison, Chucky also extended a clear, direct and unconditional apology to his father, colleagues, comrades, brothers and sisters.
Chucky’s unconditional apology also covered his mother and his three children, whom he named as Charles, his son, Jordene, his daughter and another son, Darjere who according to him, is currently in Liberia.
In his apology to his father, former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, Chucky said, “These are the three words for him, “Now I Understand.” However, listening to the live interview conducted by Journalist Al Jerome Chede in the United States of America, many have begun to wonder if Chucky’s message or apology to the Liberian people really matters at this time after been convicted and is now serving a 97-year prison sentence.
After his conditional apology to the Liberian people, “Chucky” began lecturing the talk show host about what sorry meant to him adding, “To say I’m sorry is a sign of strength. To have compassion is a projection of strength. This is a sign of humbleness and not a weakness,” he emphasized.
“Chucky,” Taylor, who was speaking for the first time since his imprisonment dominated and almost took control of the popular Diaspora program and repeatedly ignored attempts by talk show host to pause so as to take other questions, a situation that prevented the host from opening the lines for callers and at one point Chucky even said to Journalist Chede, “I was rudely interrupted.”
Chucky still in his state of authority also demanded that he be called Charles Taylor Jr., rather than “Chucky” Taylor, a name he is notoriously known by in Liberia and injected how that was time that he reclaimed his name.
Apparently reading a prepared text, “Chucky” began by bombarding the United States Justice Department and accusing everybody else including the judge, prosecutors and all other executive employees adding that, “They conspired against me by seeking and securing my illegal conviction.”
Meanwhile, the former dreadful ATU Commander, “Chucky” Taylor, has also described his conviction and subsequent imprisonment as being illegal noting, “My conviction was an illegal conviction.” Chucky is a natural born American citizen who is the first to be tried under the United States Anti-Torture Law.
According to the U.S Anti-Torture Law, Subsection 2340A, it reads in part; “If the offender is a United States citizen, who commits torture outside the United States, or attempts to commit torture, he/she shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”
But Chucky’s allegations against the U.S Justice Department in support of his claims, listed false statements and lack of probable cause to arrest and try him as an American citizen and cited the alleged violation of his civil and constitutional rights including what he referenced as his due process rights, illegal certification and the court’s lack of sentencing authority.
He explained in the interview suggesting that his trial was influenced by a foreign power in a domestic situation and that his indictment was motivated by politics and not grounded in law or facts but did not give the moderator time to ask him to name the foreign power he alluded to but concluded that he was legally and factually innocent of the allegations made against him.
Chucky said he never testified in his own defense instead he relied on his Public Defender explaining, “I relied on the wise counsel of my Public Defender because I was innocent of the law at the time and for what I know now, I would have testified in my own behalf. Even if I had testified, it would be irrelevant in the eyes of the facts finders.”
Chucky’s explanation during the interview neither seemed to be directing calls for his conviction to be overturned and that he be set freed, be provided a retrial or his sentence be reduced but expressed hope that the United States Congress could launch an investigation into circumstances surrounding his arrest, trial conviction and subsequent sentence.
Chucky who was 29 years at the time of his arrest was subsequently indicted on July 24, 2002 on several crimes by a federal grand jury in Miami, Florida and is currently serving his jail sentence for one count of torture, one count of conspiracy to commit torture and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime while his charge of conspiracy to commit torture carried a sentence of up to 20 years and the possession of a firearm carried a sentence of seven years to life imprisonment.