Islamologist Tariq Ramadan was acquitted on Wednesday 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 euros) in compensation from the State of Geneva.
In view of “the antagonistic position of the parties, the absence of material elements, the contradictions of the various testimonies (…), the findings of two contradictory psychiatrists on important points and the messages retained by the suspect to the defendant after the facts , the court was not able to form an intimate conviction of guilt beyond any insurmountable doubt,” said the president of the court, Yves Maurer-Cecchini.
The mentioned party immediately announces to appeal. “We are going to fight until the end,” the detainee’s lawyer, Me Robert Assaël, told reporters.
The prosecutor had requested three years in prison, half of which is firm.
When the verdict was announced, the Swiss preacher, 60, smiled and was hugged by one of his daughters. He left the court with his family, without making any.
“This verdict is neither a whim nor a crush, it is a verdict inspired by reason”, declared his Swiss lawyer, Me Yaël Hayat.
“Too many implausibilities and contradictions led to a perfectly logical acquittal in fact and in law,” also told AFP Tariq Ramadan’s French lawyer, Me Philippe Ohayon.
On the bench of the civil parties, the suspect, 57, left the room before the end of the reading of the verdict. “She got up because she was shocked not to have been heard,” explained Me Assaël.
Evening “badly lived”
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. The judges held that the account of the complaint was “generally consistent and detailed” but that it was however not corroborated “by any material element, such as traces of semen or blood, CCTV images of the hotel or findings of traumatic lesions or gynecological violence”, a statement from the president of the court.
Mr. Ramadan, a charismatic and contested figure in European Islam, denies any sexual act and claims to be the victim of a “trap”.
Converted to Islam, the suspect, “Brigitte”, who chose this pseudonym to protect herself from threats, assured during the hearing 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. She had filed a complaint ten years after the events.
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 says he let himself be kissed before quickly ending the exchange.
The suspect’s lawyers argued during the hearing 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.
“There is no doubt that the suspect lived the evening badly”, a report on Wednesday from the president of the court, but “the existence of this stress”, which was reported to the psychiatrists, “does not make it possible to confirm the materiality of the denounced facts”.
Doctor of the University of Geneva, where he wrote a thesis on the founder of the Egyptian Islamist brotherhood of the Muslim Brotherhood who was his grandfather, Tariq Ramadan was professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, and invited many universities in Morocco, Malaysia, Japan or Qatar.
In France, he 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 of instruction to order a trial or not.