Academic and TV personality in custody in France after two women alleged violent attacks
The prominent Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan has been denied bail in France, four days after he was remanded in custody on charges of rape.
Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, was charged with rape on Friday after two women accused him of violently assaulting them in hotel rooms in Lyon and Paris in 2009 and 2012 after conferences. Ramadan denies any wrongdoing.
The two women went public with the allegations late last year when women began sharing accounts of sexual harassment and assault as part of the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc (“squeal on your pig”) campaign triggered by the revelations against the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Ramadan, who took leave of absence from Oxford in November after the allegations surfaced, is the most high-profile figure to be held in France since the campaign began. He was held for questioning in Paris for two days last week before being charged and taken into preventive custody on Friday.
The arrest of the influential academic – a regular on TV debates who has more than 2 million Facebook followers – has rocked the French Muslim community.
Henda Ayari, a 41-year-old feminist activist who previously practised an ultraconservative brand of Islam, claims Ramadan raped her in Paris in 2012. Another woman, a 40-year-old disabled Muslim convert going by the alias Christelle, claimed he raped and beat her in the south-eastern city of Lyon in 2009.
Ramadan was questioned in the presence of the second woman last week. His lawyers have suggested the women colluded to try to disgrace him.