French judges refuse lawyers' plea to release Tariq Ramadan

Magistrates investigating separate rape allegations against the prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan have refused his lawyers' request to overturn his placement under investigation after discrepencies were revealed in the acount of one of his accusers, and have maintained his preventive detention in prison which began in February.

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French judges have rejected a request by lawyers for Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan to drop charges* of raping two women, a source close to the inquiry told AFP on Friday, reports Yahoo News.

Ramadan, a Swiss citizen and Oxford University professor whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, has been held since February on charges* that he raped two women in France.

Investigative judges have already denied several requests for bail.

The request came after the first accuser, Henda Ayari, was questioned with Ramadan present for the first time by judges on Thursday.

Lawyers for both said judges uncovered discrepancies on the dates of the alleged assaults in Ayari's account, which prompted the request to drop the charges*.

Ayari, a feminist activist who previously adhered to the strict Salafist branch of Islam, had told investigators that Ramadan raped her at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Paris on May 26th, 2012.

But investigators later determined she was attending her brother-in-law's wedding in Rouen, northern France, on that date, prompting Ayari to admit she could not remember the exact date.

In a three-page ruling seen by AFP, the judges said that despite her "uncertainty" about the dates, "the serious or collaborated elements which prompted the charges* remain."

Read more of this AFP report published by Yahoo News news.

Note: The word "charges" used in this AFP report refers to the French legal status of being "placed under investigation". The distinct French legal term "placed under investigation" in fact precedes charges that can be brought at the end of an investigation, when a case is sent to trial. Under French law, a person suspected of a criminal offence can be placed under investigation by investigating magistrates if they find there is “serious or consistent” evidence against them of perpetrating a crime.



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