By Agence France Presse
The prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, who is in French detention over several rape allegations, is facing a new accusation of rape, this time in Switzerland, a Swiss daily reported Friday.
A Swiss woman is pressing criminal charges against Ramadan, 55, alleging he raped her and held her against her will for several hours in a Geneva hotel room a decade ago, the Tribune de Geneve (TdG) daily reported.
When contacted by AFP, the woman’s lawyer Romain Jordan confirmed that criminal charges had been filed in Geneva on Friday, but said he did not want to make any further comments at this stage.
“We are confident in our case,” he said.
The alleged victim, who was not identified, is not the first to accuse Ramadan.
The prominent TV pundit and Oxford University professor, whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, was detained by a French court in February over charges that he raped two Muslim women in France.
A third woman has since made further allegations of rape. Ramadan denies all the charges.
One of European Islam’s best-known figures, he has dismissed the accusations against him as a smear campaign by his enemies and his lawyers argue there are inconsistencies in the women’s accounts.
In the fresh case, TdG reported it had seen a 13-page transcript of the alleged Swiss victim’s testimony, in which she accused Ramadan of attacking and raping her in a hotel room in 2008.
The woman, a convert to Islam who was around 40 years old at the time, had been having family difficulties and had sought out the eminent Muslim scholar who like her grew up in Geneva, according to the paper.
After meeting him at a book signing in Geneva in 2008, she had begun corresponding with him via social media and voiced interested in attending a conference he was planning in the city.
But as the conference was private, she said Ramadan — who is also a Swiss national — had offered to meet her for coffee and what she thought would be a recap of the event.
Instead, he lured her up to his hotel room, where she said he attacked her, raping her and holding her in the room for hours, TdG reported.
“I was afraid I was going to die. I was terrified and paralysed,” she said in the testimony, according to the paper.
The woman, who said she had been too afraid at the time to go to the police, said she had been emboldened to step forward now by the large number of women who have accused Ramadan of sexual misconduct, TdG said.