After several unsuccessful attempts, Tariq Ramadan was granted bail by a French court. Ramadan is accused of raping two French women, to whom he sent hundreds of texts that detailed violent sexual fantasies.
Tariq Ramadan, a leading Islamic scholar who is facing two rape charges, was granted bail by a French court on Thursday.
The decision was made after the 56-year-old Swiss academic testified before the appeals court, arguing for his release.
“Where would I flee to?” Ramadan said in his hearing, which was his first public appearance since he was detained in February.
His bail was set at €300,000 ($340,000), with the deal requiring him to surrender his passport and report to a police station once a week. He is also banned from contacting the plaintiffs.
In court, he argued that his multiple sclerosis meant he had difficulties walking after being detained for the past 10 months.
Women were ‘regularly threatened’
Ramadan is accused of raping two French women in 2009 and 2012, one of whom is disabled.
Although he first denied any having sexual contact with the women, experts recovered hundreds of text messages Ramadan sent to the women, some of which detailed violent sexual fantasies.
Last month, he admitted to having sexual contact with the women, but claimed that the “sex games” were “consensual.”
Francis Szpiner, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, said the two women “were regularly threatened” by Ramadan.
Ramadan also faces criminal rape complaints by women in the United States and Switzerland.
He took leave from his position as a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University last year after the sexual assault allegations surfaced at the height of the “Me Too” movement last year. French authorities launched a formal investigation into the case shortly thereafter.
Ramadan, who is married with four children, is popular among young Muslims and has argued for an approach to Islam adapted to life in Europe. He has received criticism, particularly in France, for his opposition to French restrictions on wearing veils.
rs/bw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)