Court/Judicial body::Benin Constitutional Court
Citation:Decision DCC 07-009
Date:January 30, 2007
Instrument(s) cited:The Benin Constitution and related legislationThe African Charter on Human and People’s Rights
Three women were in debt to a group of banks in Benin, “l’Association des Caisses de Financement du Benin”, and alleged that they were subjected to inhuman treatment when they failed to repay their debt. The women claimed that after coming to an agreement with the banks to work in exchange for paying back the debt, were actually abducted by individuals related to the banks and taken to the police station. They were put in confinement for over 24 hours, and among them were two 2-month-old babies incarcerated alongside their mothers. The Court ultimately found that the arrest of the individual debtors and their confinement was arbitrary and violated the constitution of Benin. Among other arguments, the court noted that the failure to repay a debt was never sufficient as a justification to deprive someone of their liberty. However, the court did not judge that the behavior of the police constituted inhuman and degrading behavior.
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