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Tariq Ramadan faces Swiss judges again in appeal trial

Famous Swiss Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan (left) walking with his lawyers Nabila Asmane (2nd left), Yael Hayat (2nd right) and Guerric Canonica (right) at the Geneva courthouse for the appeal trial as part of a sexual assault investigation, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, May 27, 2024. (KEYSTONE/Valentin Flauraud)
The theologian is accused of raping a woman in October 2008 but has always maintained his innocence, explaining that the woman had been rejected and hurt. KEYSTONE / VALENTIN FLAURAUD

The 61-year-old Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, who was acquitted of rape and sexual coercion, will be back before judges in Geneva on Monday. The public prosecutor's office and the plaintiff had appealed against the court’s decision last year.

As the judges of the correctional court were unable to determine the guilt of the accused “beyond all reasonable doubt,” they acquitted Tariq Ramadan at the end of a tense, high-profile trial. According to the criminal court, there was a lack of material evidence in the case.

The theologian was accused of rape by a woman, now aged 58, which allegedly occurred in October 2008 in a hotel room in Geneva. The plaintiff described a night of “beating,” during which she claims that Tariq Ramadan hit her, insulted her and sexually abused her for several hours.

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Ramadan has always maintained his innocence, claiming never to have had a sexual relationship with the woman. During the trial, he explained that he had been the victim of a woman who had been rejected and hurt. The prosecution had requested a three-year sentence, of which 18 months would be in prison.

The appeal trial, which will take place in a small room at the Palais de Justice, is scheduled to continue until Wednesday. Judgement is not expected for several weeks.

Proceedings in France

Four women have also accused Tariq Ramadan of rape in France between 2009 and 2016. He has not yet been tried. At this stage, the public prosecutor has asked that only one charge of aggravated rape, involving violence, be retained. A decision is expected at the end of June on the continuation of the proceedings in France.

Ramadan is the grandson of the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan el-Banna. His father Saïd fled to Switzerland in 1954. Ramadan taught for a number of years in Geneva before becoming a public figure capturing the interest of a section of young Muslims with his speeches and oratory skills.

Adapted from French by DeepL/dkk/ac

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