The man, 57, from Pont-sur-Sambre near Belgian border, is said to have confessed during questioning to attacks on women dating back decades.
Over the past two weeks a number of Muslim figures and organisations in France, together with anti-racist militants, have become increasingly vocal in calling for the release from preventive detention of prominent Islamic intellectual, scholar and preacher Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford, who was earlier this month placed under investigation for two rapes. His supporters argue that he is subject to unusually harsh treatment, that his state of health has not been properly taken into account, with some also throwing doubt on the veracity of the accounts of his alleged victims. But, as Louise Fessard reports, the support leant to Ramadan has opened deep divisions among French Muslims, with questions raised over the motivations of the campaigners.
A preliminary investigation opened last month after a woman filed a lawsuit accusing budget minister Gérald Darmanin of raping her in 2009 has been dropped after no evidence was found of 'coercion, threat, surprise or violence' the Paris prosecution services announced on Friday.
French government colleagues of the budget and public accounts minister, Gérald Darmanin, have defended his right to remain in his post while awaiting the findings of an investigation into a complaint launched against him for his alleged rape in 2009 of a woman who had asked him for help in a legal case concerning her, an accusation he has denied.
Following recent acquittals in separate cases of men charged with raping 11-year-old girls, rulings justified by magistrates on the grounds that there was no evidence of violence or constraint, France's gender parity minister Marlène Schiappa said her government is to consider changes in the law that would automatically qualify sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor 'under a certain age' as rape.
French MPs to debate measures including a clear age of consent after court dropped rape charge in case involving an 11-year-old girl.
Police arrested a dozen people on a fourth night of clashes with youths on housing estates north of Paris, amid fury over the violent arrest.
Officers stopping youths in Paris suburb and asking to see identity papers allegedly forced a 22-year-old man to the ground and beat him.
After feminist organisations in France led a campaign of protest against the invitation to the French-Polish director, who is wanted in the US for having sex with a minor in 1977, to preside the annual César cinema awards, the 83-year-old said he was stepping down from the role.
Feminist groups have called for a boycott of the annual César awards ceremony in February over what one said was the 'shameful' decision to honour filmmaker Roman Polanski, 83, who is wanted in the US on charges of raping a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977.
Suspect held over 'rapes, attempted rapes and sexual assaults' on 34 women aged from 27 to 72 in forest near Paris from 1995 to 2001.
The tourist accused officers from an elite police unit of raping her in premises of what was long the equivalent of London’s Scotland Yard.
Probe into how man with a conviction for posessing child pornography became headteacher of a school where he tricked two pupils into sex acts.
The 43-year-old computer programmer was given 19 years in jail after forcing four female minors to live as naked 'slaves' at his Riviera home.
Interior minister told rally held to protest against attack on Jewish couple that combating anti-Semetic acts would be a 'national cause'.