The United States on Friday send warning message to Benin Republic government over arrest of opposition figures after last month election in the country.
According to a statement by US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken and mailed to Prowling Eagles, America said, “The United States notes with concern the numerous arrests of opposition political leaders related to the April 11 presidential elections.
“Among the democratic principles our two countries share is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty through a prompt, fair, transparent, and apolitical criminal justice process.
“This principle, as well as freedom of expression and assembly, is enshrined in both the Beninese and U.S. constitutions.
“We are monitoring the government of Benin’s actions closely.
“While we take allegations of terrorism and incitement to violence seriously, the Beninese people deserve to be regularly informed on the status of these cases.
“Our global security partnerships depend upon partner countries’ adherence to human rights obligations and commitments and to ensuring security forces and the judicial system are not used for political purposes.
“Respecting and protecting fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and judicial independence, are essential to every democracy.
“Countries that protect human rights enable greater prosperity and security for all people”.
The leader of Benin’s largest opposition party and first female presidential candidate, Reckya Madougou was arrested last month over allegation of “planning to assassinate several political figures”, by government spokesman.
Many opposition figures in the tiny West Africa country are already in exile or barred from office in Benin, a West African state which, many polical critics say has veered into authoritarianism under President Patrice Talon.
“Compatriots who were preparing to commit crimes have designated Reckya Madougou as their sponsor,” Alain Orounla, spokesperson for the government of Benin, told reporters last month.
“Madougou, 46, who is the head of the Les Démocrates party was “planning to assassinate several political figures”, he added, stressing that it was a “very serious offense of terrorism”.
She was arrested last month in Porto-Novo in the presence of Joël Aivo, another opposition candidate, who escaped at the time of the arrest.
Sebastien Ajavon, a key opposition leader who came in third in the last election and was convicted of drug trafficking in 2018 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, was sentenced in absentia on Monday to five years for forgery and fraud.
Ajavon is currently living in exile in France, like many of the country’s opposition members.