, COTONOU, May 15 – Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi has pardoned a prominent businessman and his alleged accomplices who were accused of conspiring to poison him and preparing a coup.
Boni Yayi said in a televised address on Wednesday evening that he had pardoned his one-time ally Patrice Talon and everyone implicated in the alleged plot in October 2012 by switching his medication for poison.
Talon fled the tiny west African nation where he was already facing corruption accusations and had been fighting extradition from France, where he was arrested in December 2012.
In December last year, a French appeal court refused to grant his extradition, ruling that he could not be sent home because it was not clear that an arrest warrant for him was still valid.
Six people, including the president’s niece and his personal physician, were being held in custody in Benin on suspicion of involvement.
Boni Yayi ordered the release of those being held in custody in Benin and said he “guaranteed to everyone the freedom of movement both in our country and the rest of the world”.
“I call on every Benin citizen to turn the page once and for all on this affair and work together to resolve the problems which we all face on a daily basis. This affair should be put behind us,” he added.