On the second anniversary of Reckya Madougou’s detention in Benin, her political party, The Democrats, and former president Nicéphore Soglo called for her “immediate and unconditional” release.
The opponent of the Talon regime was arrested on 3 March 2021 on the eve of the presidential election when she had just finished a meeting in Porto-Novo where she called on the population to demand her reintegration into the electoral process, which was considered exclusive. In the meantime, Reckya Madougou and Joël Aïvo, both opposition candidates, had been rejected for these presidential elections ‘on the basis of scurrilous laws’.
She was arrested and heavily sentenced in December 2021 to 20 years’ imprisonment for “financing terrorism” by the Court of Repression and Economic Infractions and Terrorism (CRIET). However, human rights defenders continue to describe his detention as arbitrary and to call for his release.
Again on 3 March 2023, his party The Democrats called on the government of Patrice Talon. “The Democrats appeal to the government of the rupture and its leader for the immediate and unconditional release of Reckya Madougou. In these times of Lent when peace and tolerance are the leitmotiv of our people, let us make these values our own. According to the statements of her political party, her arrest and conviction are purely political and her fundamental rights are violated.
Another voice calling for the release of the former justice minister is that of the first head of state in the era of Democratic Renewal in Benin. Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo also called for an end to Reckya Madougou’s penitence and denounced a “governance of relentlessness” against her person.
“Personally, I am very disappointed that I have not been able to obtain her release for two years. And it’s not for lack of trying. I even let myself compromise in order to ease the atmosphere on both sides without success. From vague promises to fallacious arguments. Reckya Madougou, like Joël Aïvo and other compatriots are still languishing in the jails of intolerance, arbitrariness and denial because the law of force has simply replaced the force of law.,President Soglo wrote.
These statements follow that of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in November 2022. The UN experts judged the detention of the opponent Reckya Madougou to be “arbitrary” and asked the government of Benin to release her immediately and to grant her the right to obtain reparation, notably in the form of compensation. These experts had given a deadline of six months to implement their recommendations.