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Tariq Ramadan: Swiss court clears Islamic scholar of rape charges

Tariq Ramadan
Tariq Ramadan arrives for the reading of the verdict at a court in Geneva on May 24, 2023. © Keystone / Martial Trezzini

The Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan, who was accused of “rape and sexual coercion”, has been cleared by a Geneva court.

The case was brought by a Swiss woman who said she had been raped by Ramadan in a Geneva hotel in October 2008. A convert to Islam, and a fan of the renowned Islamic studies scholar, the woman, now 57, told the court she had been subjected to brutal sexual acts accompanied by physical blows and insults in a room at Hotel Mon Repos.

The Geneva court decided however that there was a lack of proof to find the Swiss scholar guilty. He will receive CHF151,000 ($168,000) in compensation from canton Geneva.

+ Rape trial of Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan begins in Geneva

The plaintiff, known as “Brigitte” in the media, immediately announced on Wednesday via her lawyers that she would appeal the verdict.

+ Investigation opens in Geneva after Tariq Ramadan accused of rape

Ramadan, 60, had faced up to three years in prison if convicted. He had always denied the allegations, although he acknowledged during the investigation that he had met her.

During his trial, he explained that he was the victim of a woman who had been rejected and hurt.

Ramadan’s legal troubles are not over. He is also facing charges in France, where four women have accused him of rape committed between 2009 and 2016. Ramadan spent nine months in pre-trial detention in 2018, the same year “Brigitte” made the allegations against him. His legal problems in France, for which he remains free under judicial supervision, had delayed proceedings in Geneva.

French prosecutors are still deciding whether charges brought against Ramadan should go to court. He continues to protest his innocence in all the cases and has vowed to clear his name.

Ramadan earned his doctorate from the University of Geneva and taught in the city for many years. He has also been a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University in the UK and a guest lecturer at numerous universities in Morocco, Malaysia, Japan and Qatar. He is the grandson of the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan el-Banna. His father, Said, fled to Switzerland in 1954.

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