Home World Benin opposition leader sentenced to 20 years in prison

Benin opposition leader sentenced to 20 years in prison

by centra

A court in Benin on Saturday convicted one of President Patrice Talon’s main opponents for complicity in acts of terrorism.

Reckya Madougou was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a trial her lawyers denounced as a political hit job.

The verdict was announced at around 6 a.m. (0500 GMT)following a trial that included no witnesses, her lawyers said in a statement.

“Her crime was to have represented a democratic alternative to the regime of Patrice Talon,” said lawyer Antoine Vey.

The conviction of Madougou, a former justice minister, comes days after another of Talon’s leading opponents, Joel Aivo, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for plotting against the state and laundering money.

85EDBA41 0707 4D72 8A38 6E66392941AD
A general view shows the Tokpa district in Cotonou, Benin, March 4, 2016. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Madougou was arrested in March and accused of financing an operation to assassinate political figures to prevent the presidential election the following month from going ahead. Her candidacy had earlier been rejected by the electoral commission.

Talon won a second term with 86% of the vote in a poll boycotted by much of the opposition and marred by violent protests.

Shortly before she was convicted, Madougou addressed the court, according to a post on her Facebook page.

“I offer myself up for democracy and if my sacrifice allows you, Mr. President (of the court) and your colleagues to recover your independence from the executive, then I will not have suffered in vain,” it quoted her as saying.

Human rights group and opponents of Talon, a multi-millionaire cotton magnate, say he has upended Benin’s democratic traditions since coming to power in 2016.

Several opponents have been arrested and electoral reforms signed by Talon in 2018 disqualified all opposition parties from running for parliament the following year.

Talon has denied targeting political opponents or violating human rights. @Reuters

————————————————————-

DO YOU HAVE A NEWS STORY OR AN OPINION FOR CENTRAL NEWS: E-mail us : newsroom@centralnews.co.za or Whatsapp us on 083 398 9119 

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept