Tariq Ramadan and his Swiss accuser face to face with judges in Paris

Already four times indicted for rape, Tariq Ramadan returned to the Paris court on Wednesday for a case that went beyond French borders: the Islamologist was faced with a woman who accuses him of having raped her in 2008 in Geneva.

Swiss justice has been asking for two years to organize this hearing, but the pre-trial detention of the preacher between February and November 2018, then his ban on leaving France for fear of flight and finally the health crisis have each time pushed back the ‘deadline.

“It’s a ordeal for my client to be confronted with him ten years after the fact, especially since she is regularly the subject of threats”, especially on social networks, said one of his lawyers. , Me François Zimeray, questioned before the hearing.

Started at midday, it continued into the early evening.

This confrontation, carried out behind closed doors by the French judges in the presence of the Geneva prosecutor, is a key step in the Swiss investigation opened after the complaint filed on April 13, 2018 by this woman, nicknamed “Brigitte”.

At the time, this Swiss mother said that she had overcome her fear of going to court thanks to the courage of the women who denounced the rapes and the double life of Tariq Ramadan, then imprisoned in France for two months.

In her complaint consulted by AFP, “Brigitte”, now 54 years old, recounted having gone to a hotel in Geneva on the evening of October 28, 2008 to have tea with the famous preacher.

Converted to Islam, she had met him a few months earlier during a signing session for one of her bestselling books. A second meeting took place in September at a conference, followed by increasingly intimate correspondence on MSN and Facebook.

– “Operating mode” –

On the evening of the meeting, the Islamologist allegedly had to iron his costume to take him to his room. Once the door was closed, he allegedly subjected her to a series of brutal sexual acts, accompanied by beatings and insults, not letting her leave until dawn.

In support of her complaint, the Swiss says she confided a few days later on this “traumatic event” to her psychiatrist. The latter described to investigators a “violent perverse hold that petrified her and deprived her of her means of defense”.

Asked for the first time on July 16 about these facts, Tariq Ramadan admitted the existence of this meeting, but denied any sexual relationship with this woman, according to a member of his entourage.

The story of “Brigitte” is very similar to that of “Christelle”, one of the first two women to have lodged a complaint in France against the Swiss intellectual, accusing him of rape in a hotel in Lyon in October 2009 .

For French magistrates, these similarities bear witness to a recurring “modus operandi” used by Tariq Ramadan to exercise his grip on his victims, a thesis recently supported by a psychiatric expertise at the heart of the case.

For the defense of Mr. Ramadan, who disputes the validity of this expertise rendered in May, it is on the contrary the sign of collusion between several of the plaintiffs, “disappointed mistresses” who came into contact to take revenge long before giving evidence. complaint.

Since February 2018, Tariq Ramadan has been indicted in France for “rape” and “rape of a vulnerable person”, for facts denounced by two complainants, Henda Ayari and “Christelle”, respectively in 2012 in Paris and in 2009 in Lyon.

Two new indictments, for suspicion of rape of two other women, in 2015 and 2016, were pronounced last February.

The Muslim preacher, who ended up admitting during the French investigation to have practiced a domineering sexuality with many mistresses, claims to have always respected their consent and disputes all the accusations of rape brought against him.

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