Swiss Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan is facing a fifth rape charge in France, AFP news agency reported on Thursday.
According to Ramadan’s lawyers, the new charge relates to the alleged rape of a woman on multiple occasions in France, Brussels, and London, between 2013 and 2014.
The victim first came forward in March 2018. The woman’s testimony led Tariq Ramadan to admit that he had extramarital relations with her. He is adamant, however, that the relation was “consensual.”
Public prosecution in Paris pushed for a rape charge against Ramadan in 2018 after the woman’s testimony, but judges suspended their decision until recently.
Commenting to AFP on the new rape charge, Ramadan’s lawyers said “there is no new element” in the investigation.
The lawyers said that Ramadan’s statements were “reliable and constant,” while the woman’s claims were “serious and consistent lies.”
The new rape charge does not necessarily mean that Tariq Ramadan will end up on trial, the lawyers explained, saying the charge can be dropped for lack of evidence.
The new rape charge is the fifth of its kind against Tariq Ramadan in France. The academic is also involved in a similar case in Switzerland.
The first rape allegations against Ramadan surfaced in October 2017, when a French woman claimed the scholar had sexually assaulted her in a Paris hotel.
A few days later, a second woman filed a similar complaint, claiming that Ramadan had lured her in 2009 into a hotel room where he assaulted and raped her.
The academic, who used to teach at the University of Oxford, took a leave of absence in November 2017.
Three other women in France accused Ramadan of sexual abuse and filed legal complaints in 2018.
As a result, Tariq Ramadan was imprisoned in February 2018 and spent 10 months in a French prison. He still has to report to a police station every two weeks as investigations into the various allegations are still ongoing.
In Switzerland, meanwhile, he is facing charges for allegedly molesting four Swiss women when they were teenagers. The women filed complaints in 2017. Ramadan denies all accusations.