Amnesty International Report 2008 - Benin
|Publication Date||28 May 2008|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2008 - Benin, 28 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/483e277c2.html [accessed 21 April 2015]|
REPUBLIC OF BENIN
Head of state and government: Thomas Boni Yayi
Death penalty: abolitionist in practice
Population: 9 million
Life expectancy: 55.4 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 149/145 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 34.7 per cent
Members of the presidential guard fired at a crowd in May killing two people. Chronic overcrowding was a problem in several prisons.
In March, gunmen opened fire on President Thomas Boni Yayi's convoy wounding at least four of his bodyguards. The President, who was unharmed, claimed that this attack was an assassination attempt by assailants opposed to his campaign to stamp out corruption. Other sources said that the people who attacked the presidential convoy were ordinary bandits. Seven people detained in connection with the attack remained in detention without trial at the end of the year.
In March, the President's coalition won parliamentary elections.
Police and security forces – excessive use of force
In May, members of the presidential guard killed two people and injured at least five in Ouidah, 35km west of the main city Cotonou. The guards opened fire on a group of people who were reportedly protesting about a road that had remained blocked after the President's car had passed. The then Public Security Minister, Edgar Alia, announced that an investigation had been opened into the shootings, but at the end of the year the results of this investigation had not been made public.
Prison conditions were very harsh because of severe overcrowding in several prisons. For example, prisons in Cotonou and Abomey (in the centre of the country) held up to six times the number of people they were designed to hold.