Mia Farrow set to challenge Naomi Campbell's "blood diamond" testimony

9th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

US actress Mia Farrow will Monday testify that Naomi Campbell had named Liberia's Charles Taylor as the man who sent a gift of rough diamonds to the supermodel's room in 1997, court papers say.

Farrow and Campbell's former agent, Carole White, will take the stand in the former Liberian president's war crimes trial in The Hague, challenging the model's evidence that she did not know who sent her the late-night gift.

The three women and Taylor had attended a charity dinner hosted by South Africa's then president Nelson Mandela in September 1997, after which two men brought a parcel of diamonds to Campbell's room at a guest house.

Farrow has told prosecutors that Campbell talked of the gift the next morning.

"She told us that she had been awakened in the night by knocking at her door, she opened the door to find two or three men ... who presented her with a large diamond which they said was from Charles Taylor," says a statement by the actress.

Campbell told the Special Court for Sierra Leone on Thursday the men gave her a pouch of "dirty-looking stones", which South African police have since identified as uncut diamonds.

But she insisted she did not know who the gift came from, though she "assumed" it was Taylor.

White is also set to challenge this version, having told prosecutors that she heard Taylor promising her ex-protege a gift of diamonds.

"It was arranged that he would send some men back with the gift," according to the notes of an interview prosecutors had with White in May.

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 civil war in Sierra Leone that claimed some 120,000 lives.

He is accused of receiving illegally mined "blood diamonds" for arming rebels who murdered, raped and maimed Sierra Leoneans, 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.

White is due to testify for about two hours from 9:00 am (0700 GMT) on Monday, followed by Farrow for an hour.

© 2010 AFP

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