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The United States notes with concern the numerous arrests of opposition political leaders related to the April 11 presidential elections.  Among the democratic principles our two countries share is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty through a prompt, fair, transparent, and apolitical criminal justice process.  This principle, as well as freedom of expression and assembly, is enshrined in both the Beninese and U.S. constitutions.

We are monitoring the government of Benin’s actions closely.  While we take allegations of terrorism and incitement to violence seriously, the Beninese people deserve to be regularly informed on the status of these cases.  Our global security partnerships depend upon partner countries’ adherence to human rights obligations and commitments and to ensuring security forces and the judicial system are not used for political purposes.

Respecting and protecting fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and judicial independence, are essential to every democracy.  Countries that protect human rights enable greater prosperity and security for all people.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future