Tariq Ramadan charged in Switzerland over rape allegations
A court concluded there is enough evidence to open a criminal case against the scholar
Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan will soon have to respond to allegations of sexual assault in Switzerland, an investigation court concluded.
A Swiss woman, who converted to Islam in her youth and was 44 at the time of events, claimed Mr Ramadan raped her in a hotel room in Geneva in 2008.
A court in Geneva assessing the woman’s claims concluded that there was enough evidence to open a criminal investigation against Mr Ramadan, who is also facing accusations in France and the United States.
“The threshold necessary to opening a criminal investigation is present and this has been the case since the beginning of the procedure,” the court concluded.
Mr Ramadan, a Swiss citizen and Oxford University professor whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, has had his reputation damaged by the stream of accusations that begun in October last year on the wave of the #MeToo movement.
His daughter Myriam may also face charges for partially revealing the identity of the plaintiff on social media, which constitutes an offence under Swiss law.
Three other women who have filed complaints against Mr Ramadan received insults and death threats when their identities became public.
Mr Ramadan is bound to appear in court in Paris in October. In June, investigative judges in France denied his lawyer’s request for bail.
In an interview with The National, one of his first accusers, Henda Ayari said that she wanted the truth to surface. “I am not looking for vengeance or to destroy him,” said Ms Ayari, 41, the Muslim daughter of parents of North African origin.
“But I want Tariq Ramadan to recognise the truth, to help in the rebuilding of my own life; but also because I am fighting as a supporter of women’s rights.”
Ms Ayari, a feminist activist who previously adhered to the strict Salafist branch of Islam, told investigators that Mr Ramadan raped her at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Paris in May 2012.
Mr Ramadan has denied all charges, arguing the relations were fully consensual. His wife, Iman Ramadan, has voiced her support for her husband and claims he was victim of a smear campaign.
Updated: September 7, 2018 04:52 PM