Saturday, January 23, 2010

Civil Trial Against Charles Taylor Jr.: Day 4

The trial in the civil case against Charles Taylor, Jr. resumed yesterday with testimony from our expert witness, psychologist Jethro Toomer. Our colleague from FIU, Professor Troy Elder, reviewed with the expert the horrors that each of the plaintiffs in the case endured. Dr. Toomer explained that all five of them had been traumatized by the events they endured at the hands of Taylor, Jr. and the ATU, and would never be the same because of those experiences. "There is no cure," Dr. Toomer stated, as trauma forever changes one's life. Instead, trauma survivors should seek to restore "equilibrium." Dr. Toomer discussed his diagnosis and prognosis for each plaintiff - adding a valuable medical perspective to the court record that the plaintiffs themselves began in December. When Professor Elder completed the direct examination, Taylor Jr. exercised his right to cross-examine Dr. Toomer (something Taylor, Jr. had not done of any of the plaintiffs). Taylor, Jr. began his questions from a pre-prepared list, focusing on the data Dr. Toomer used to form his expert opinion. Taylor, Jr. then quizzed Dr. Toomer on his knowledge of Liberian history and the focus of several books and articles Dr. Toomer had written. When direct, cross, and re-direct were complete, the Judge scheduled closing arguments for next Friday. For more coverage, click here.

We enjoy hearing from those of you following this case and appreciate your support. As many of you know, 2009 was financially unkind to many non-profits and, unfortunately, Human Rights USA was no exception. Thankfully, we have not had to close our doors… but we continue to face severe financial constraints in our efforts to uphold human rights around the world. Such efforts sometimes carry a large price tag, and this case is no exception. We believe the fight to support human rights is worth every penny. But if we are going to continue this work – WE NEED YOUR HELP.

We invite you to support a piece of history by sponsoring a part of this civil case. A donation of $2,600 covers the cost of one client's air travel from Liberia to Miami to testify at trial. $448 covers the cost of our attorney's vaccinations prior to travel to Liberia to meet with our clients and gather information for trial. $400 covers the cost of one client's or attorney's lodging over the course of the trial. Your donation of $350 would cover the cost of filing the Complaint. Each donation of $131 would cover the cost of one visa for entry from Liberia into the United States to participate in trial. $75 covers the cost of one of our attorney's "pro hac vice" appearance in the federal court. $40 would cover the cost of the bag lunches we made for our attorneys and clients during the trial. And a donation of $25 would cover the cost of producing photographic exhibits for trial. We ask you to take a moment to decide what amount you can afford to give and then click here to own a part of this case…and to continue assisting survivors of human rights abuses to hold the violators accountable.

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