Paris – The Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan, imprisoned for seven months in France for rape charges he contests, must face again on Tuesday the second complainant, an appointment after which he hopes to get his release.
Popular and controversial figure of French-speaking Islam, Tariq Ramadan is indicted since February 2, accused of having raped Henda Ayari, his first accuser, and a second woman, nicknamed "Christelle".
The 56-year-old Swiss theologian, suffering from multiple sclerosis whose treatment has been judged manageable in prison, is being held at Fresnes Prison Hospital, south of Paris, much to the dismay of his supporters.
His confrontation with "Christelle"was scheduled for July 18 in the judges' office, but had to be postponed due to the state of health of the complainant, which confirmed a medical expertise, claimed by the defense.
"The stake is less than during the first confrontation in custody (February 1, Ed) where Tariq Ramadan was blind on the record and could not adjust his defense to the reality of the parts", told AFP the plaintiff's lawyer, Eric Morain.
"My client remains determined, especially after being soiled and wrongly accused of having rejected unfoundedly the confrontation of July", he added.
In custody, the theologian had only admitted a "seduction gameIn correspondence with this admirer, he stated that she saw her for 20-30 minutes in the lobby of the hotel on October 10, 2009, whereas she claims to have been raped there the previous day with rare violence and then abandoned. shock in Mr. Ramadan's room.
The defense also assures, with photographs and testimonies – contested – in support, that "Christelle"was present at the conference that the preacher had given the same evening the facts denounced.
– "Dominance reports"-
During this first confrontation, "Christelle"had described to the investigators the scar that Tariq Ramadan wears in the groin.For the defense, this element, which had weighed in the decision of incarceration, could be obtained by a possible"collusion"Complainants with opponents, including polemicist Caroline Fourest, and former mistresses of the intellectual.
Tariq Ramadan, who claims his innocence, recognized for the first time in June several extramarital affairs "granted"and"fiery relationships, domination", including a third complainant who appeared in March, denouncing nine rapes in France, London and Brussels, from 2013 to 2014.
The theologian has not yet been interrogated or indicted in this area, where he is under the status of assisted witness.
His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, also filed at the end of July a motion for nullity against the testimony of two former mistresses gathered under X during the preliminary investigation with the assistance of the lawyer of "Christelle".
On July 19, Tariq Ramadan was confronted for the first time by Henda Ayari, whose complaint, filed in the fall in the wake of the #MeToo movement, launched the case.
But the declarations of this former Salafist, who became a secular activist, has been weakened by her reversals on the date and the place of the facts she denounces.
The next day, the defense of Tariq Ramadan, who claimed the cancellation of the indictments by pointing the "contradictions"of the complainants, was denied this request, judged"premature"by the magistrates.
The theologian had also filed a second request for release under judicial supervision, with delivery of his Swiss passport and a deposit of 300,000 euros, also rejected in early August.
Magistrates relied mainly on "risk of pressure"on the complainants and the postponement of the confrontation with"Christelle"According to their decision of which AFP is aware.The defense of Mr. Ramadan intends to file a third application for release on Tuesday, after the confrontation.
In Switzerland, a fourth woman filed a complaint in Geneva, triggering the opening of a separate procedure, "well advanced"according to a source close to the record, and prelude to a request for mutual assistance between the two countries.