French court rejects attempt by scholar Tariq Ramadan to drop rape charges

Tariq Ramdan took leave from his position at Oxford University after the rape claims surfaced. (AFP)
Updated 14 March 2019

French court rejects attempt by scholar Tariq Ramadan to drop rape charges

  • The Swiss academic is accused of raping two women in French hotel rooms in 2009 and 2012
  • The allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement in 2017

LONDON: A French court Thursday rejected a request from Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan to drop two rape charges against him.

The Swiss academic is accused of raping two women in French hotel rooms in 2009 and 2012.

The allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement in 2017. He was granted conditional release in November after nine months in prison while the investigation continued. 

The Paris Court of Appeals upheld Thursday a decision last summer by judges who deemed the request “premature,” France24 reported.

Ramadan, 56, was a professor at Oxford University until he was forced to take leave when the women came forward.

As well as being a scholar in his own right, Ramadan comes from a family with deep ties to radical Islam. The married father of four’s grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and his brother Hani was expelled from France in 2017 for his extremist views.

One of Tariq Ramadan’s accusers is a disabled woman identified in media reports as “Christelle” and the other is a feminist activist, Henda Ayari.

Ramadan, who denies the attacks, had previously claimed he had no sexual contact at all with the women. But he was forced to admit he had been lying after nearly 400 text messages between him and “Christelle” were uncovered, AFP reported.

Some of the messages detailed violent sexual fantasies. Ramadan subsequently said the sexual contact was “consensual.”


Greece moves more migrants to mainland as arrivals increase

Updated 14 min 3 sec ago

Greece moves more migrants to mainland as arrivals increase

  • Some 697 migrants and refugees arrived in the port of Elefsina near Athens from the island of Samos
  • Greece is struggling with the biggest resurgence in refugee and migrant flows across the Aegean Sea from Turkey since 2015
ATHENS: Authorities in Greece moved more asylum-seekers to the mainland on Tuesday as part of a strategy to reduce the refugee population on outlying islands after an increase in arrivals in recent months.

Some 697 migrants and refugees arrived in the port of Elefsina near Athens from the island of Samos, officials said. Earlier, 120 people arrived from Lesbos.

Greece is struggling with the biggest resurgence in refugee and migrant flows across the Aegean Sea from Turkey since 2015, when more than a million crossed into Europe, many of them via Greece.

The islands, which are closest to Turkey, have been struggling under the influx, with some 33,700 refugees and migrants in overcrowded camps, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

In late September, a woman died in a fire in a tent in a camp on Lesbos, while another fire in a severely overcrowded camp in Samos forced hundreds of people into the streets this month.

“Our focus was mainly on Samos because we want things there to calm down,” migration ministry secretary Manos Logothetis told Reuters.

More than 12,000 people arrived in Greece in September, the highest level in the three-and-a-half years since the EU agreed a deal with Turkey to seal the Aegean corridor to Europe.

Logothetis said up to 300 more people would be leaving Samos this week, and up to 2,000 from all outlying islands next week. Greece aims to move up to 20,000 off the islands by the end of the year, he said.

Athens has announced a stricter migration policy to deal with the crisis, including plans to deport 10,000 people who do not qualify for asylum by the end of next year.