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Naomi Campbell on Blood Diamond Case: 'I Was Used as a Scapegoat'

September 23, 2010, 3:56 am GMT

The supermodel says in a statement that prosecutors tried to highlight on her celebrity status while the fact is she was in the trial only as a witness.

Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell is adamant prosecutors forced her to give evidence at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in a desperate bid to publicize the case. The British supermodel testified during proceedings in the Netherlands last month, admitting she received a pouch of uncut gems after a dinner party hosted by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997.

Campbell claimed she didn't know what the "dirty stones" were or who had given them to her, while prosecutors claim the rocks were in fact blood diamonds, used to finance the 1991-2002 Sierra Leone civil war. Now the beauty has opened up about the testing experience, accusing prosecutors of using her celebrity status to highlight the case.

She tells Sky News, "What you need to understand - I wasn't on trial - I was forced through a subpoena to testify. Nothing to do with me. This trial has been going on for how many years? No one cared to write about it. You bring Naomi Campbell to the stand, the whole world knows. So as far as I was concerned I was used as a scapegoat."

"I do not think what he (Taylor) did to his people is correct. I do not condone that and I will never condone that, but I do not see why I have to sit here and hear around everywhere I go in the world that this was like my trial. I was a witness. I told and remembered what I could to my ability and it was 13 years ago."

Taylor is accused of using blood diamonds to fund Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. He has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the brutal conflict.

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