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(FILES) In this photo taken on July 21, 2006 former Liberian President Charles Taylor (R) appears in court as the tribunal prosecuting war crimes from Sierra Leone's decade-long conflict held a first hearing in The Hague. Charles Taylor's war crimes trial enters its final phase on February 8, 2011 after three years of gripping, often gruesome, testimony on the Liberian ex-president's alleged warmongering in Sierra Leone.ROB KEERIS/AFP / Getty Images

At first blush, Cindor Reeves doesn't appear to be the ideal new Canadian. His past includes time as a guns-for-diamonds smuggler in West Africa - and an association with the regime of the despotic Charles Taylor, who is also his brother-in-law.

However, this is an extraordinary case. Mr. Reeves also risked his life to help international prosecutors build a war crimes case against Mr. Taylor, the former president of Liberia. And if the world wants to ensure dictators such as Mr. Taylor are punished, then Mr. Reeves deserves protection.

In 1989, Mr. Taylor launched a civil war in Liberia, creating a proxy army in Sierra Leone called the Revolutionary United Front, responsible for recruiting child soldiers and killing thousands. Mr. Reeves, whose sister married Mr. Taylor, acted as the leader's personal envoy, helping to smuggle arms into Sierra Leone in exchange for blood diamonds. He secretly turned against him, however, and, according to two former prosecutors with the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, gathered evidence of atrocities committed by his regime. Mr. Reeves never asked for anything in return, and at one point, had to be spirited out of West Africa to avoid being killed.

Mr. Taylor is currently on trial for 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Special Court, now sitting in The Hague.

Mr. Reeves was granted asylum in Germany. However, he wasn't allowed to work there, and was dissatisfied with his living conditions. In 2006, he flew to Toronto with his wife and two children, without the court's permission.

He was excluded from seeking asylum here because of his association with the Taylor regime - although there are no allegations he committed crimes against humanity.

Asylum shopping should be discouraged and in an ideal world, Mr. Reeves would still be living in Germany. But given the exceptional circumstances, Canada's Immigration Minister can - and should - intervene in his case. No more public time and money should be wasted on appeals. Mr. Reeves should not be deported to Liberia. He played a key role in bringing charges against a reviled figure, and deserves a safe haven.