Benin opposition politician goes to African court

2018-05-10 09:58
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Benin opposition politician Sebastien Ajavon on Wednesday took the country's government to court, demanding nearly $990 million in damages after a string of arrests and prosecutions.

One of the failed presidential candidate's four lawyers, Julien Bensimhon, told the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in Arusha, Tanzania, that his client needed its protection.

Benin's courts "were not in a position to do it", he said, adding that Ajavon's right to liberty, property, a fair trial and the presumption of innocence had been infringed, he added.

The damages were for psychological damage and harm to his commercial interests, the court was told, according to a live stream of proceedings broadcast online.

Ajavon's lawyers said their client had been subjected to "harassment" and a "calculated plot" for the last two years, they added.

In particular, they noted the seizure of 18kg of cocaine in a container belonging to his import business. The case was later dropped.

But they also highlighted the suspension for several months of two media organisations belonging to Ajavon and more recently a tax adjustment of more than $300m.

Two out of three witnesses who were due to testify on Wednesday did not travel to Tanzania and said they had received threats, according to statements they made seen by AFP.

Defence lawyers for Benin's government said "all internal legal avenues had not been exhausted" and there was no need to go to the African court.

"The claimant's appeal is inadmissible in your jurisdiction, said Elie Kponou, who called Ajavon's accusations "outrageous".

Ajavon, dubbed Benin's "Chicken King" after he made his fortune in livestock, contested the last presidential election in the tiny West African nation in 2016.

He came third with 23% of the votes behind the eventual winner, businessman Patrice Talon, and the former prime minister and investment banker, Lionel Zinsou.

Ajavon in March launched his own political party and made known he wants to stand at the next election that is expected in 2020.

Talon defeated Zinsou in the second round with the help of Ajavon but then promptly sacked three ministers close to his rival in his first months in power.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    benin  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.