The Geneva Attorney General’s Office has opened a criminal investigation into Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, according to reports. In April, a Swiss woman filed a criminal complaint in Geneva for rape against Ramadan, who is being held in custody in France on similar allegations.
After five months of investigation, a Geneva prosecutor considered the complaint to be sufficiently serious, and opened an investigation against the prominent Swiss academic in early September, the Tribune de Genève newspaper revealed on Sunday.
The Geneva Attorney General's Office has upheld the charges of rape and sexual coercion. The victim's lawyer, Romain Jordan, confirmed this information to Swiss public radio, RTS.
The allegation by the unnamed Swiss woman, a convert to Islam, relates to an alleged incident at a Geneva hotel in October 2008, the Tribune de Geneve has reported. The woman was about 40 at the time.
The complainant has since been interviewed by the local police. They then conducted a preliminary investigation and report for prosecutor Adrian Holloway, who has decided to open a criminal investigation.
Holloway may travel to France in the coming weeks to interview Ramadan, who has been in prison since February. Lawyers from both sides are expected to attend this hearing, RTS said.
The Swiss scholar was imprisoned in France in February over rape allegations made in that country, after two women’s complaints led to a criminal investigation. A third rape allegation was filed in February.
In addition, Ramadan is accused of having had inappropriate relations with several students whilst teaching at a Geneva-area school. The canton has called in two experts to conduct an external investigation into the allegations.
Ramadan denies all allegations against him.
Married with four children, he is a grandson of Hasan al-Banna, an Islamist thinker and activist who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He enjoys a substantial following among young Muslims and has challenged French restrictions on wearing veils.
Ramadan took a leave of absence from his professorship at Britain’s Oxford University last November after the first two women filed complaints against him in France alleging rape.