Beninese opposition leader Reckya Madougou sentenced to 20 years in prison

Beninese opposition leader and former Justice Minister Reckya Madougou was sentenced on Saturday to 20 years in prison for terrorism by a special court in Porto-Novo, the capital of Benin, which four days earlier sentenced another opposition leader to 10 years in prison.
After more than 20 hours of hearings, Ms. Madougou, 47, was found guilty of “complicity in terrorist acts” by the Court of Repression of Economic Offenses and Terrorism (Criet). The opponent, who had pleaded not guilty, was given the sentence requested by the prosecutor.
Set up by the government in 2016, the special court is accused by its critics of serving as a legal instrument of power to muzzle the opposition.
“This court has deliberately decided to pillory an innocent person,” Madougou said shortly before her conviction was announced. “I have never been and I will never be a terrorist.”
The former minister, whose candidacy for the April 11 presidential election was rejected, was arrested a few weeks before the election, which saw President Patrice Talon re-elected for a second term with more than 86% of the vote.
Charged and imprisoned in early March in Cotonou, the economic capital, the opponent is accused of having financed an operation to assassinate political figures in order to prevent the holding of the election and thus “destabilize” the country.
On Tuesday, the Criet sentenced another opposition politician, Joël Aïvo, to 10 years in prison for, among other things, “plotting against the authority of the state” and “money laundering”. The academic, who has been in detention for eight months, was arrested the day after President Talon’s re-election.
Patrice Talon, a wealthy businessman who made his fortune in cotton and was elected for the first time in 2015, is accused of taking Benin in an authoritarian direction in the name of “developing his country”.

About Geraldine Boechat 1810 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia