CAT/C/66/D/829/2017

The facts as submitted by the complainant
2.1
In 2008, the complainant worked as a storekeeper and courier for the businessman
Patrice Talon, his wife’s uncle and the current President of the Republic of Benin. On 23
October 2012, an international arrest warrant was issued against Patrice Talon, who was
suspected of conspiring with certain individuals in his entourage to poison the then Head of
State, Thomas Boni Yayi. As Mr. Talon’s courier, the complainant was suspected of having
been involved in the case.
2.2
In October 2012, three masked men in civilian clothes, members of the Beninese
secret service, entered the complainant’s home late at night. The complainant was taken by
car to the “Petit Palais”, a detention facility in Cotonou, where he was imprisoned for two
weeks, naked, in a dark room with only one small slit window high up. He was tortured and
interrogated there several times a day to force him to admit that he had conspired with
Patrice Talon in the assassination attempt on the Beninese President. He was punched in the
face, hit with a machine gun in the back and once on the right brow bone, causing him to
lose consciousness. He was forced to do knee bends with weights on his shoulders, while
being hit on the knees with a whip that had sharp blades on the end. He still has scars and
continues to suffer pain as a result of this. The complainant also claims that he was raped
every night by a masked soldier whom he was unable to identify. On one occasion, his
torturers injured his penis with pliers, causing an infection. The complainant still bears the
scars.
2.3
The complainant was then asked to pay a ransom of around US$ 4,000 on the orders
of the Central Police Superintendent of Cotonou in charge of the poisoning case. His jailers
accompanied him to his home so that he could give them the money, ordered him to say
nothing about the events that had taken place at the Petit Palais and threatened to kill him or
members of his family if he left the country.
2.4
Having returned to his job as a storekeeper, the complainant regularly received calls
telling him not to recount his ordeal. In February 2013, when the complainant was on his
way home from work, his wife called him, crying, because men in civilian clothes had
come to the house and taken away some documents and his computer. At that point, the
complainant fled from Cotonou to Mederos Condi, where his mother had a house. The
complainant’s wife and child went to live with his mother-in-law.
2.5
The complainant stayed with his mother for about eight months. On 8 October 2013,
his wife contacted him to say that she had received an anonymous call warning her that
people were about to come for him because Patrice Talon had supposedly financed the Red
Wednesday campaign, a protest movement against constitutional reform, through him. He
then left Mederos Condi and went to another village, where he stayed while arranging his
escape.
2.6
On 12 October 2013, the complainant arrived in Switzerland and lodged an asylum
application in Vallorbe that same day. By decision of 2 April 2014, the Federal Office for
Migration rejected the complainant’s asylum application and ordered his deportation from
Switzerland. On 24 February 2015, the Federal Supreme Court dismissed the complainant’s
appeal and upheld the deportation order. On 19 October 2015, the complainant lodged a
request for reconsideration with the State Secretariat for Migration, which had replaced the
Federal Office for Migration. The State Secretariat for Migration handed down an
unfavourable decision on 22 March 2016, arguing that the complainant had submitted his
allegations of sexual violence too late. On 22 April 2016, the complainant filed an appeal
against this decision with the Federal Administrative Court. His appeal was dismissed on 1
June 2016.
2.7
The complainant suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is going through a
moderate to severe depression. He also suffers from sleep disorders and has frequent
nightmares, in which he relives the attacks. Furthermore, he has pain flashbacks that cause
his memories of the torture to resurface. Currently, he receives psychotherapy on a weekly
basis and takes strong psychotropic medication; both of these treatments are necessary in
order to maintain his physical integrity. According to the medical certificate of 30 May
2017, he is deemed to be at a high risk of self-harm. The complainant is also being
monitored by the University Medical Polyclinic in Lausanne. He claims that he is afraid of
2

GE.19-12653

Select target paragraph3