Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the arbitrary arrest of Casimir Kpédjo, the editor of Beninese newspaper Nouvelle Economie, over a story about Benin's debt. His arrest is indicative of a government desire to control the press, RSF said.
Police arrested Kpédjo at his Cotonou home on 18 April as a result of a complaint by Caisse autonôme d'amortisseement (CAA), about an article published the previous day claiming that Benin's eurobond issues in the first quarter of 2019 violated its finance law. The article was illustrated with the minister's photo.
CAA is the government body responsible for monitoring external finance.
"Casimir Kpédjo's arrest constitutes further evidence of a government desire to silence all contradictory voices in Benin," said Assane Diagne, the head of RSF's West Africa office. "We call for his immediate and unconditional release."
Kpédjo is the second journalist to be arrested this year for his opinions about the government's actions, following Parfait Folly, who was arrested on a complaint by the same minister.
Kpédjo is currently being held at the headquarters of the Criminal Brigade in Cotonou. He will be transferred to the Court for Economic Offences and Terrorism (CRIET), which is tasked with combatting corruption, illicit enrichment, drug trafficking and money-laundering, as well as terrorism.
Benin is ranked 96th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2019 World Press Freedom Index, 12 places lower than in 2018 and 18 places lower than in 2017.