The former minister of Yayi Boni, Reckya Madougou, is still under arrest warrant, accused of "criminal association" and "financing of terrorism" since March 5, while the Beninese vote this Sunday for their president.
By opposing Patrice Talon, the president running for a second term, Reckya Madougou knew that she risked ending up in a cell in Akpro-Missérété civilian prison, in Porto Novo. She had also warned her relatives, before being arrested, that she felt threatened. The Beninese presidential candidate, whose candidacy was rejected by the Constitutional Court, is currently in prison. She is accused of having "planned serial executions of political figures" and indicted for "financing of terrorism" by the Court for the Repression of Economic Infractions and Terrorism (Criet). She was placed under warrant of committal.
Since March 5 and the notification of the judge of detention and freedoms of Criet, the former adviser to Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé has been living in conditions of detention that have become increasingly strict. His visiting days have been reduced to one per week. From now on, Reckya Madougou can catch a glimpse of her family one minute watch in hand on a weekly basis.
Meanwhile, Benin is preparing to vote for its president. In a statement, the ambassadors of Germany, the United States, France and the European Union called for an end to the violence and demanded a "free, peaceful and transparent" election. Without quoting Reckya Madougou but by evoking between the lines this affair, they timidly call on the political actors "to privilege the dialogue and the gestures of appeasement". Earlier, Patricia Mahoney, the US Ambassador to Benin, said of this case: “We are closely monitoring the judicial process and we urge the Beninese authorities to conduct proceedings in a fair and transparent manner with respect. rules of procedure ”.
What we know about the Madougou affair
In these conditions of detention, the Beninese opponent cannot prepare for her possible trial, no date having been set. Indeed, it is for the time being almost impossible for her councils to speak with her in confidentiality, the interviews taking place in an open room, under increased surveillance. As for his file, it has not been able to be consulted by the defense to date. Only Criet would be able to deliver it. Only a few snippets of this file, if it exists, were delivered to the lawyers, thanks to a hearing of the defendant.
Today, the opponent is accused of having transmitted money to one of his relatives, George Sacca, a member of the Democrats party. The entourage of the ex-candidate of the party ensures that this sum was to be used to finance the organization of a meeting in Parakou and the mobilization of sympathizers.
The other individual involved in this affair is retired Colonel Mama, who allegedly received money from George Sacca to support his daughter who is studying in Morocco, according to the political activist of the Democrats. The two men were arrested, before Reckya Madougou was also arrested.
New lawyers to plead Reckya Madougou's case
The Beninese justice has, for the moment, not accepted a confrontation between the three defendants who were all heard by the judicial police officers. And without a court file, it is difficult for Reckya Madougou's lawyers to defend their client and prepare their defense, as they would like to do.
According to corroborating sources, the conditional release of the former Keeper of the Seals would be discussed at the presidential palace. Very critical of power, would Reckya Madougou be placed under house arrest after the ballot? To be able to think through all the scenarios, the fundamental rights of the former Minister of Justice must first be granted to him.
In the meantime, the Beninese prepares after April 11, and that, whatever the outcome of the Madougou file. Reckya Madougou should even expand its pool of international lawyers. In addition to Mario Stasi, lawyer and President of the League against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA) who has already spoken in favor of the release of Reckya Madougou, she is about to appeal to Antoine Vey . Recognized criminal and technician, whose ex-partner is none other than Eric Dupond-Moretti, current French Minister of Justice, Antoine Vey is also the lawyer for Beninese businessman and opponent Sébastien Ajavon.
The two men should accord their voice with a strategy already established: to plead the cause of Reckya Madougou outside the borders of Benin and point out the lack of independence of justice and Criet vis-à-vis the Beninese power. … To be continued.