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Ex-Rebel Gibril Massaquoi tried in court of appeal

Suspected warlord Gibril Massaquoi from Sierra Leone looks on as he waits for the start of his trial at the Finnish appeals court in Turku on January 10, 2023   -  
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Sierra Leone

Gibril Massaquoi, former commander and spokesman of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) is being tried in the Turku court of appeal for rape, ritual murder and abduction of child soldiers tuesday.

Former commander and spokesman of the Revolutionary United Front, Gibril Massaquoi arrested in 2020 for atrocities committed during the Liberian civil war, is being persecuted in appeal for rape, ritual murder and recruiting child soldiers, Tuesday in Turku, Finland.

This first day of the hearing was to address issues of witness confidentiality, before the presentation of the case by the prosecutor and then the defense of Mr. Massaquoi.

The 50-year-old man nicknamed “Angel Gabriel” has been living in Finland since 2008 and was acquitted in first instance in 2021 as the prosecution had failed to prove with certainty any form of implication.

Massaquoi faces life imprisonment for aggravated war crimes and aggravated crimes against humanity committed or ordered between 1999 and 2003, though he firmly denies his implication. 

Angel Gabriel had already obtained immunity from the UN Special Court for crimes committed in Sierra Leone after agreeing to testify against his former leadersn though it seems this will not exempt him of faces this charges. 

As in the first trial, the court will relocate: first to Liberia for two months starting in early February, then to Sierra Leone in May to hear witnesses, before returning to Finland in June, according to the Turku Court of Appeal.

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