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Farrow disputes Naomi Campbell’s ‘blood diamond’ testimony

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-09

Testifying before the Sierra Leone war crimes court Monday, US actress Mia Farrow said she heard supermodel Naomi Campbell saying she had been given a “huge diamond” by then Liberian president, Charles Taylor.

AFP - US actress Mia Farrow said Monday Naomi Campbell named Liberia's Charles Taylor as the man who sent a "huge diamond" to the supermodel's room in 1997, during testimony at a war crimes trial.
  
"She said that in the night she had been awakened. Some men were knocking at her door. They were sent by Charles Taylor and they had given her a huge diamond," Farrow told the Liberian ex-president's trial in The Hague.
  
Farrow as well as Campbell's former agent, Carole White, have been called  to testify Monday about a charity dinner hosted by then South African president Nelson Mandela in September 1997, after which two men brought a parcel of diamonds to Campbell's room at a guesthouse.
  
The two women were summoned as witnesses in the Taylor trial to challenge Campbell's evidence that she did not know who had sent her the late-night gift.
  
Wearing a dark pin-stripe suit, Farrow said in the witness stand that Campbell had talked of the gift at breakfast the next morning, "before she even sat down".
  
The model had also told the group that "she intended to give it to Nelson Mandela's children's charities," the actress said.
  
Farrow was called to the stand first, despite a witness list filed by the prosecution putting White in the opening slot.
  
Taylor's lawyer Courtenay Griffiths objected to the switch, but the judges allowed the prosecution to proceed.
  
Campbell told judges on Thursday the men gave her a pouch of "dirty-looking stones", which South African police have since identified as rough diamonds.
  
But she insisted she did not know who the gift came from, though she  "assumed" it was Taylor.
  
White also is expected to challenge Campbell's version of events, having told prosecutors that Taylor and her ex-protege were "mildly flirtatious" throughout the dinner, and that she heard him promise the model a gift of diamonds.
  
"It was arranged that he would send some men back with the gift," stated the notes of an interview prosecutors had with White in May.
  
White said Campbell "seemed excited about the diamonds and she kept talking about them."
  
Two men arrived at the model's door that night, and White said she saw them give her "a scrubby piece of paper" containing about six "small, greyish pebbles".
  
When the delivery came, White "thought that Ms Campbell was disappointed because she thought she was going to get a big shiny diamond and these just looked like pebbles."
  
Taylor, 62, is on trial for his alleged role in the 1991-2001 Sierra Leone civil war that claimed some 120,000 lives.
  
He is accused of receiving illegally mined "blood diamonds" for arming rebels who murdered, raped and maimed Sierra Leone civilians, amputating their limbs and carving initials on their bodies.
  
Prosecutors want to prove that Taylor took rough diamonds to South Africa in 1997 "to sell... or exchange them for weapons" for Sierra Leone rebels.
  
Jeremy Ratcliffe, a former director of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, has since confirmed that Campbell gave him the rough diamonds which he handed over to police last Thursday.
  
South African police say they may want to question the model.

Date created : 2010-08-09

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