Free Tariq Ramadan Asia Campaign
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The Tariq Ramadan case: International call for urgent action
Dear international partners,
We call on you to speak out clearly on what has emerged as a clear travesty of justice in the Tariq Ramadan case. See the facts of this case that will help you take action, and alert your constituents, partners and the media.
It is not for us to judge Tariq Ramadan’s guilt or innocence. While fully respecting the plaintiffs, we support his right to a just, complete and fair legal process. This will be done only after the investigations and a complete study of the file by the magistrates.
1. Pre-trial detention, denial of bail
On October 20, 2017, Ms. Henda Ayari filed a complaint against Tariq Ramadan at the Rouen public prosecutor's office. For unknown reasons, the file was transferred to the Paris prosecutor’s office. Second and third plaintiffs, known as “Christelle” and “Marie” later came forward with similar allegations.
On January 31, 2018, Tariq Ramadan travelled to Paris to present himself to investigators. He was immediately detained and has since been held in pre-trial detention.
At the initial hearing, inconsistencies and contradictions in the testimonies of the first two plaintiffs presented by Mr Ramadan’s legal team were ignored.
Tariq Ramadan was then denied bail even though the case was still at the preliminary investigative stage. The presiding magistrates rejected the proposal of Tariq Ramadan’s legal team to surrender his Swiss passport, place him under house arrest with an electronic monitoring device and report daily to the police.
2. Solitary confinement, prison mail, access to legal file
Since his imprisonment, Tariq Ramadan has been held in total solitary confinement. During the first 45 days, he was denied family visits and phone calls, a right enjoyed even by common criminals. His postal mail has been restricted and censored without any apparent reason. His family and the legal team have not always been kept informed when he has been transferred to hospital. The examining magistrates have refused him access to his own legal file.
3. Multiple Sclerosis: not compatible with detention
His multiple sclerosis, diagnosed in 2014, was under control thanks to a regular and rigorous medical follow-up. Since his incarceration, Tariq Ramadan’s health has deteriorated rapidly. Appropriate medical treatment has not always been adequately provided. As well, proper medical procedures have not always been followed, such as transporting him by ambulance.
There is medical consensus of the MS diagnosis condition by nine doctors, including the chief prison physician who confirmed that his health was incompatible with incarceration. These reports have been ignored.
In order to decide on the continued detention of Tariq Ramadan, a court-appointed-physician examined him for 20 minutes. This was enough time to conclude that his health was compatible with continued detention! When this medical exam was challenged by Tariq Ramadan’s legal team, the examining magistrates were obliged to order a second examination. Their report, due on March 31, has been delayed and will now be presented on April 15.
In the meantime, Tariq Ramadan is in extreme pain and is having difficulty walking. On several occasions he had to go to the visiting area in a wheelchair. The Swiss diplomat that was inspecting the prison treatment was shocked by his fellow citizen’s health condition. In fact, Tariq Ramadan is suffering from severe headaches, limb numbness, severe cramps, sleep and memory problems.
To denounce these conditions, the European Court of Human Rights has been contacted by Tariq Ramadan’s defense. The file is currently being processed by this body.
Tariq Ramadan’s family is alarmed to see that his symptoms worsen each day that he is unjustly detained. This degrading treatment has been ongoing during the incarceration and there are risks of permanent damage. How can Tariq Ramadan defend himself under these conditions?
4. Trial by media
Tariq Ramadan has been tried and found guilty in the mass media even before his trial could begin. The figure thus created bears no resemblance to the real Tariq Ramadan, a man widely respected for his upright character and integrity.
Strategic leaks, distortion and manipulation of key facts in the case indicate that the true aim of the media campaign has been to misinform. The media have failed to report contradictory statements by the plaintiffs just as they have been silent on the meeting, in 2009, of high-ranking French magistrate Michel Debacq with the second plaintiff “Christelle” at the urging of notorious islamophobes Caroline Fourest and Antoine Sfeir, widely recognized as long-time enemies of Tariq Ramadan.
Judge Debacq, who now serves on France’s Court of Cassation, did not disclose his previous involvement with “Christelle”. Senior politicians, including a former prime minister, have made prejudicial comments and allowed themselves to denigrate a man who has not yet been tried. Meanwhile, two ministers in the current French government accused of similar crimes offenses have their liberty and are still in office.
5. Contradictions in Plaintiffs’ allegations
The plaintiffs have advanced no proof to support their accusations. They have made contradictory claims to investigators and media. Ms. Ayari claims she ceased attempts to contact Mr. Ramadan in 2013. In fact, defense lawyers uncovered that she sent him nearly 300 Facebook messages in 2014, fifteen months after the alleged rape. She has since then admitted to attempting to contact him via Facebook in an effort to seduce and entrap him.
The second plaintiff, "Christelle," admitted to the police that she created fake accounts under Tariq Ramadan’s name to disseminate false information. As well, she denied ever having been in contact with Ms. Ayari. The technical investigation showed that the two women have four numbers in common including that of Fiammetta Venner, the partner of Ms. Fourest. Between May and November 2017, "Christelle" called this number 116 times and Ms. Ayari 156 times.
The third plaintiff “Marie” was an escort girl involved with Cheick Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. Moreover, she not only tried to trap a high-ranking public figure, but also to defraud her insurance by declaration of false thefts. “Marie’s” sister contacted Tariq Ramadan in 2014 and warned him that her sister was trying to trap him with paparazzi, as she attempted to do with Dominique Strauss-Kahn to get money from Closer magazine.
Constant public reference has been made to Tariq Ramadan’s religious affiliation, origins and lineage, raising serious questions about racism and inequality in French society. Justice will not be served by using the Tariq Ramadan case to fan the flames of Islamophobia or by pandering to the politics of the extreme right wing.
Urgent call for due process
1. France’s judicial authorities must respect and guarantee Tariq Ramadan’s right to a just, complete and fair legal process. Tariq Ramadan is innocent until proven guilty. Justice delayed is justice denied.
2. French authorities should release Tariq Ramadan to allow him access to appropriate and consistent medical care and to prepare his defense under fair conditions.
Should the denial of due process in the Tariq Ramadan case continue, all concerned citizens will conclude that the traditional French values of liberté, égalité et fraternité, do not apply to a certain category of the population.
France may become known as a country of racism and state Islamophobia. Supporters of the “vivre-ensemble” will take note and resist, with all the energy and necessary means against these derivatives and remnants of another time. Let's act together so that history does not repeat itself…
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