Journalist still arbitrarily detained
In Benin, at least 17 journalists, bloggers and political activists have been prosecuted in less than two years under the 2018 Digital Law. Some of the repressive provisions of this law undermine the right to freedom of expression, including press freedom in the country.
The CFI initially refused to back Ignace Sossou after his detention. In a letter dated 19 December 2019 and sent to the Beninese Minister of Justice, the Africa director of CFI declared that '' the truncated sentences and taken out of their context absolutely do not represent the content of the exchanges that we had during the debate. We are sorry that an unscrupulous journalist took advantage of this privileged moment to try to make a buzz at the expense of the Prosecutor ''. After declaring that it "distances itself from publications and from these types of practices which are unethical and give a bad name to the profession as a whole". However, CFI has publicly presented on 8 January 2020 "an apology for the unfolding of the events in which he [Ignace Sossou] was a victim”.
Ignace Sossou has been prosecuted for his journalistic work and for exercising his right to freedom of expression in the past. In August 2019, he was falsely accused of publishing “false information’’ in connection with two articles on tax evasion in Benin. The Cotonou First Class Court of First Instance found him guilty of defamation and handed him a suspended sentence of one month and a fine of 500,000 FCFA.