Graphic testimony in Paris court by Tariq Ramadan’s second victim

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Three judges are tasked with the complex case investigation of the charges against Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan after his indictment on Friday when he was charged with rape.

Ramadan, who while in police custody was confronted by one of the women who he is alleged to have sexually attacked and physically tortured and humiliated, had asked his defense to discuss with the judge the possibility of relieving him from pre-trial detention, which the prosecution had asked for. This judicial decision should take place within four days.

Meanwhile, Ramadan, who lived in recent months between Switzerland and France, will spend the time in a Paris jail.

On Thursday, it was decided that the testimony of Henda Ayari, who has suffered for three months attacks on social networks and is under police protection, would be scrutinized. On October 20, 2017, she had filed a rape complaint against Ramadan.

French writer and feminist activist Henda Ayari poses during a photo session in Paris, on November 24, 2017. (AFP)
French writer and feminist activist Henda Ayari poses during a photo session in Paris, on November 24, 2017. (AFP)

But the other plaintiff, whom some newspapers have given with a first name to protect her privacy, “Christelle”, testified for three and-a-half hours, in the presence of Ramadan’s lawyers Yacine Bouzrou and Julie Granier, and counsel for his alleged victim Eric Morain.

Apartments searched

Earlier, the authorities had conducted two searches, in an apartment where the theologian had an office in Saint-Denis and the other in Haute-Savoie, on the French-Swiss border, where he has his principal residence.

“Tariq Ramadan gave me an appointment at the bar of the Hilton Hotel in Lyon, where he had come down for a conference in October 2009,” said the 45-year-old woman in front of the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. At the time, this French convert to Islam had since December 31, 2008 been corresponding with Ramadan, seeking his advice, as many others who follow his writings do.

Their relationship gradually changed, with the latter who was living apart from his wife, promised her a religious marriage and, meanwhile, a temporary marriage via Skype. However, the meeting in Lyon was their first, where Ramadan was attending a conference on “Living together, Islamophobia and Palestine”.

“After 10 minutes, he said to me, 'We cannot stay here, everyone is watching. I am a well-known person, and the Maghrebian at the reception recognized me and does not stop to look at us’,” she explained in her complaint. Ramadan went to her room by the stairs while she, who walks with a crutch since a car accident, took the elevator.

Violent assault

According to the complainant, the assault occurred very soon after her entry into the room: slaps to the face, arms, breasts and punches in the belly, oral sex and sodomy imposed by force, new blows, a new rape. “He dragged me by the hair all over the room to get me into the bathtub to urinate on me,” she said in her complaint, claiming to have finally managed to escape only in the morning.

During the testimony, the scholar denied vehemently any rape and even any sexual act, acknowledging a simple flirtation.

The complainant did, however, provide multiple details, including a small scar in her attacker’s groin, which Ramadan admitted to having. At the end of this tense exchange, the Islamic scholar refused to sign the minutes.

On November 7, 2017, the University of Oxford decided “by mutual agreement” with Ramadan that he would go on temporary leave of absense from the position of professor of contemporary Islamic studies.

In recent days, it is Qatar, which has been funding the chair of theology - bearing the name of Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, emir of Qatar from 1995 to 2013 – an academic position which was held by Ramadan, who has hinted that he was no longer welcome in the emirate.

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