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. Her confrontation with "Christelle" was scheduled for July 18 in the judges' office, but had to be postponed due to the complainant's state of health. What confirmed a medical expertise, claimed by the defense.
Read too. Revelations on the case Tariq Ramadan
"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 coins," said Agence France-Presse, counsel for the plaintiff, Eric Morain. "My client remains determined, especially after being soiled and wrongly accused of having unfoundedly rejected the July confrontation," he added.
In custody, the theologian had only admitted a "game of seduction" in correspondence with this admirer. He stated that he saw her 20-30 minutes in the lobby of the hotel on October 10, 2009, while she claims to have been raped there the previous day with a rare violence and then abandoned, in shock, in the room of Tariq Ramadan. 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.
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" of the plaintiffs with opponents, notably polemicist Caroline Fourest, and former mistresses of the intellectual.
Tariq Ramadan, who claims his innocence, acknowledged for the first time in June several "consensual" extramarital affairs and "fiery relations of domination", notably with a third complainant who appeared in March. It denounces nine rapes in France, London and Brussels, from 2013 to 2014. The theologian has not yet been questioned or indicted in this part, where he is placed 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 collected under X during the preliminary investigation with the assistance of the lawyer of "Christelle".
Read too. Tariq Ramadan case: the witness who overwhelms Henda Ayari
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, have been weakened by her reversals about the date and place of the events she denounces. The next day, the defense of Tariq Ramadan, who demanded the cancellation of the indictments by pointing out the "contradictions" of the plaintiffs, was denied the request, deemed "premature" by the magistrates.
The theologian had also filed a second request for release under judicial supervision, with surrender of his Swiss passport and a deposit of 300,000 euros, also rejected in early August. The magistrates mainly invoked the "risk of pressure" on the plaintiffs and the postponement of the confrontation with "Christelle", according to their decision of which the Agence France-Presse is aware. Tariq Ramadan's defense intends to file a third application for release as soon as 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 familiar with the case, and prelude to a request for mutual assistance between the two countries.
Read too. Tariq Ramadan about to be indicted in Switzerland