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Benin opposition leader in court on terror charges

The opposition leader in Benin, Reckya Madougou, has appeared at the country’s Economic Crime and Terrorism Court on charges of financing terrorism.

The former justice minister has been detained for more than eight months.

She is the leader of Benin’s largest opposition party – the Democrats – and had hoped to be the first female presidential candidate to come from a major party.

But her candidacy was rejected for the presidential election held in April this year.

Ms Madougou has been accused of trying to disrupt the ballot and destabilising the country.

She faces a 20-year sentence if found guilty.

Her lawyers and supporters say the trial is entirely political.

Government officials dismiss claims of political interference and say Benin’s judiciary is independent.

Another opposition figure, Joël Aïvo, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday.

The court is expected to deliver its verdict on Friday evening or early Saturday morning.

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