It was a decisive week which began on Monday, December 6 for Joël Aïvo and Reckya Madougou, two Beninese opponents arrested since last April. The first, a famous constitutional expert, has just been set on his fate, while the second awaits his trial hearing next Friday.
Indeed, the famous constitutional expert was found guilty of money laundering and conspiracy against the authority of the State by the Court for the repression of economic offenses and terrorism (Criet), a special court created in 2018 and considered by its detractors as an instrument for silencing the opposition. He receives ten years in prison, as well as two of his co-defendants (Boni Saré Issiakou and Ibrahim Bachabi Moudjaïdou, soldiers whom he says he does not know), while his accountant, Alain Gnonlonfoun, also accused for the same facts , was acquitted.
In addition, Joël Aïvo is condemned to pay a fine of 45 million CFA francs, against 5.7 million for his comrades. The verdict was delivered early this Tuesday in Porto Novo, shortly before 3 a.m., after a long day of hearing. Hearing during which the opponent said he was persuaded to pay for his democratic convictions.
“It is not for criminal justice to arbitrate political adversities. Only democracy is eternal. We can get out of it, but believe me, we always come back to it (…) ”, he declared at the helm. And to ask himself: “Today is me, whose turn tomorrow? ”
Under arrest since April 15, 2021, Joël Aïvo had seen his candidacy for the presidential election last April rejected by the Autonomous National Electoral Commission (Cena). He was arrested shortly after the incarceration of opponent Reckya Madougou, accused of “financing terrorism” and of attempting to destabilize the electoral process leading to the re-election of President Patrice Talon.