Former star preacher Tariq Ramadan was acquitted on Wednesday May 24 of the charge of rape and sexual coercion by a Geneva court which ruled that there was no evidence against him. He will also receive approximately 151,000 Swiss francs (approximately €154,400) in compensation from the State of Geneva.
The plaintiff immediately announced an appeal. Three years in prison, half of which was firm, was requested last week by the Geneva prosecutor. As the verdict was announced, the Swiss preacher, 60, smiled and was hugged by one of his daughters. On the bench of the civil parties, the complainant, 57, left the room before the end of the reading of the verdict.
Two opposing versions of the facts
Tariq Ramadan was tried for the first time for rape, but he is threatened with a trial in France for similar facts. His highly anticipated trial revealed two opposing versions of the facts.
A charismatic and contested figure of European Islam, Tariq Ramadan denies any sexual act and claims to be the victim of a “trap”. Converted to Islam, the complainant, “Brigitte”, who chose this pseudonym to protect herself from threats, however assures that the Islamologist subjected her to brutal sexual acts accompanied by beatings and insults in the room. of the Geneva hotel where he was staying the night of October 28, 2008.
During the three days of hearing, last week in Geneva, a screen separated them so that she did not have to see it.
The plaintiff requested reimbursement of attorneys’ fees
“Brigitte” filed a complaint ten years after the facts, in 2018, encouraged, she explained, by the fact that other women did the same against Tariq Ramadan in France.
The two agree that they spent the night together in the hotel room, which she left early in the morning to return to her home. Tariq Ramadan assures that it was she who invited herself into his room. He says he let himself be kissed before quickly ending the exchange. A version denied by “Brigitte”, who told during the hearing that she was “afraid of dying” under the blows of the Islamologist.
The Geneva prosecutor accused Tariq Ramadan of being guilty of “rape three times” in the same night and of “sexual coercion”. The plaintiff requested the reimbursement of lawyers’ fees and compensation in the amount of 50,000 Swiss francs (€51,300).
The Paris prosecutor’s office requested his referral to an assize court
During the hearing, the defense tried to demonstrate the innocence of Tariq Ramadan by ensuring that there was no scientific evidence. His lawyers also accused “Brigitte” and the women who filed the complaint in France of having forged links with the aim of bringing down the Islamologist.
The plaintiff’s lawyers argued that she had consulted two psychiatrists in the days following the night of October 28, 2008 to tell them the facts and tell them about her state of stress. She indicated during the investigation that she had met the Islamologist at a book signing a few months before the events, before seeing him again at a conference, then corresponding in an increasingly intimate tone on social networks.
In France, Tariq Ramadan is suspected of rape committed between 2009 and 2016 on four women, a case which triggered his fall in 2017. The Paris prosecutor’s office requested his referral to an assize court in July and it is up to the judges to instruction to order a trial or not. The French case earned him more than nine months in pre-trial detention in 2018.