Treason trial opens for Benin opposition figure, Joel Aivo - Punch Newspapers

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Benin Republic, Joel Aivo

12/7/2021 2:00:00 AM

Treason trial opens for Benin opposition figure, Joel Aivo - Punch Newspapers

The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria

6 December 2021Benin opposition figure Joel Aivo, who was barred from running in this year’s presidential election, pleaded not guilty as his trial on treason and corruption charges opened Monday.The academic, who has been held for eight months, faces 20 years in prison if convicted of plotting against the state and money laundering.

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“I am the target of political vengeance,” Aivo said. “I knew that my ideas would be upsetting.”Aivo, arrested on April 15, is being tried at the Economic Crime and Terrorism Court in the West African country’s administrative capital, Porto-Novo.Several opposition leaders were detained before or just after the April 11 election that saw President Patrice Talon win a second term with more than 86 per cent of the vote.

One of Avio’s attorneys, Ludovic Hennebel, told AFP in July that he was being “arbitrarily detained in inhumane, cruel and degrading conditions… to punish him for political dissent and for speaking to French journalists”.

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