Swiss Islamist Tariq Ramadan appears before a criminal court in Geneva on Monday for “rape and sexual assault”, denies the charges, declaring himself the victim of a “trap”.
The complainant, a Swiss woman who claims to have been bullied and who asked to be identified as “Brigitte” (a fictitious name), was in her 40s at the time of the events, approximately 15 years ago.
At her request, a screen separates her from the defendant during the trial, so they cannot see each other.
The woman claims that the Islamist subjected her to brutal sexual acts, accompanied by beatings and humiliation, on the night of October 28, 2008, in a Geneva hotel room where he may have invited her. But Ramzan, 60, vehemently denied this and said he was the victim of a “trap”.
“I am not a predator, but a victim of harassment,” he said during the opening of the trial, which in theory will last three days.
The defendant admitted that he had met her but said that he did not want to have sex. According to him, he had to remove the complainant as she was “extremely daring”.
This Monday, he said he was suffering from multiple sclerosis and depression. He said, “I am here because I want to fight. I will not let lies and trickery defeat me.”
Upbeat, he said that he had “low spirits” but that he is “innocent”. He said, ‘I never attacked anyone.
The Swiss intellectual, a charismatic and controversial figure in European Islam, could be sentenced to two to 10 years in prison. The verdict, which can be appealed, will be announced on May 24.
As “Brigitte” explained, before meeting at the hotel, the two had exchanged intimate messages in 2008 after seeing each other at a book signing and a conference.
The woman claims that Ramzan subjected her to violent sexual acts for hours and almost forced her to suffocate.
In France, Ramadan is suspected of allegedly raping four women between 2009 and 2016 and is currently on probation.
The Paris prosecutor’s office requested in July that he be tried on criminal charges, but the investigating judges who ordered the possible trial have yet to rule on the matter.