Detained academic apologised to accuser for “violence” in unearthed text message
Tariq Ramadan admits ‘consensual’ sex with accusers after text messages unearthed
New text messages unearthed in the investigation into rape claims against Tariq Ramadan have led to the academic changing his story to French authorities.
The Oxford Islamic Studies professor is currently in custody accused of raping two women in hotels rooms, charges he denies.
Originally Mr Ramadan, 56, told French police that he had not had sexual contact with either feminist activist Henda Ayari or the woman referred to as "Christelle” by media, but his story has changed in light of the text messages.
The women came forward in the wake of the Me Too movement, with Ms Ayari’s alleged rape occurring in spring 2012 in Paris, and Christelle’s alleged rape and beating in Lyon in 2009.
The messages "show that the plaintiffs lied and that the sexual encounters were wanted, consensual and even sought again afterwards", Mr Ramadan’s lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, said last week.
Mr Ramadan has since admitted “that he had sexual relations" with the women.
French investigators found 399 text messages between Ramadan and one of the accusers Christelle, sent between August 31 to December 15, 2009.
A leaked report compiled by the investigation’s IT experts showed he sent Christelle a message after the alleged incident reading: “I sensed your unease … apologies for my ‘violence’”.
“For 11 months, Tariq Ramadan has lied, and all that time he was calling the complainants liars and taking the judges to task,” Christelle’s lawyer Eric Morain said of the messages coming to light.
“His gamble – and it was a failed gamble – was to think it would be impossible for us to prove our case. His gamble was that my client wouldn’t be believed.”
Mr Ramadan is also the subject of a rape accusation in his native Switzerland by a woman who claims she was attacked in a Geneva hotel.