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Naomi Campbell admits being given blood diamonds

August 05, 2010 18:43 IST

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has testified at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, saying that she received "a few small very dirty looking stones."

After confirming her name and date of birth, the 40-year-old told the courthouse in The Hague that two men knocked on the door of her hotel room and woke her up late at night after a dinner with former South African President Nelson Mandela in 1997.

The men, who she had never met, told her "there is a gift for you".

They gave her a "pouch" which she opened the next morning containing 'a few small very dirty looking stones', reported Telegraph online.

The following morning she joined Carol White, her ex agent, and Mia Farrow for breakfast and told them of the gift.

The supermodel said she then gave the stones to an organiser of a South African children's charity.

Campbell, who had been driven into court in a van with blacked-out windows to avoid crowds of waiting photographers, appeared in the witness box wearing a cream jacket and matching skirt.

Judges have ordered special security measures for the British supermodel, ruling that she must be protected from intense press scrutiny at the normally sleepy UN court, which occupies the former sports centre of the Dutch secret service in a residential suburb.

Taylor is being tried on 11 counts of war crimes in Sierra Leone, including charges of murder, rape and sexual slavery, in a trial that has already lasted two years.

The 62-year-old is accused by prosecutors of trading in "blood diamonds" to fund a brutal and bloody war carried out by rebels in Liberia's neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Critical to their case is the allegation that his staff gave Miss Campbell, 40, a large uncut gem as a present after they met at a star studded gala banquet hosted by Nelson Mandela in 1997.

Campbell had denied the story and was issued with a subpoena and a warning that she faced a seven year jail sentence after initially refusing to discuss it with the UN war crimes court.

In April, she insisted that she "never received a diamond". In May, she told Oprah Winfrey, the US chat show host, she did not want to be involved in Taylor's case and feared for her safety if she were.

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