Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan has been ordered to remain in custody in France and informed that he is subject to a full investigation into rape accusations, a judicial source has said.
Two complaints have been filed against Ramadan, a well-known figure in the Middle East. He is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt, Hassan al-Banna. He is also a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oxford.
These complaints prompted a preliminary judicial inquiry by Paris justice officials. Ramadan denies the allegations and has filed a complaint for slander against one of his accusers.
Friday's announcement, widely reported on news agencies, turned that preliminary inquiry into a full, open-ended investigation in which French magistrates stated goal is to establish whether Ramadan should stand trial.
In France, the launch of a full investigation implies that initial findings justify further pursuit in the view of the investigating magistrates but does not mean the matter is sure to go to trial.
Ramadan, 55, was arrested and taken into custody earlier this week.
The professor took a leave of absence from Oxford last November after the two women filed complaints in France alleging rape, in 2009 and 2012 respectively.
Born in Geneva in 1962 and the younger brother of controversial imam Hani Ramadan, Tariq Ramadan studied Islamic Studies and French literature at the University of Geneva. He acquired Swiss citizenship at age 22. Ramadan has written numerous books on Islam and the integration of Muslims in Europe.