On Thursday, January 23, Tariq Ramadan will finally be heard by the judges for the first time since his release from prison. How will the judges, who for months and months, have been requesting and following the unprecedented requisitions of the Prosecutor's Office, be able to justify their mind-boggling management of this case? The latest information in the file, dated Friday, January 17, leaves no room for doubt that there is not the slightest credible charge against Tariq Ramadan. Will the judges attempt to create yet another diversion and will the French media continue to remain blind and deaf?
It has long been established that the first three complainants lied to the judges, the police, and the media on numerous occasions. They not only knew each other personally but also had relations with many opponents of Professor Tariq Ramadan years before the beginning of this case. Recent investigations by the Criminal Division, which mainly focus on the fourth complaint put forth by "Elvira", not only substantiates what was already known but actually worsens the situation not only for the complainants but also for the Prosecutor's Office and the judges.
On the basis of a simple statement given to the police by a woman who calls herself "Elvira", the Prosecutor's Office added additional prosecution’s charges to the file without any supporting documents or the slightest shred of evidence. The judges went even a step further by asking an expert, Dr Zagury, to investigate whether "Elvira" was "under the psychological grip" of Tariq Ramadan even though he has repeatedly stated that he does not even know her. These serious decisions, usually reserved for a case in an advanced stage, were taken even prior to launching the preliminary investigations related to the complaint. What justification do they have for this urgency and how will they explain this fault in the management of such a sensitive file?
The conclusions of the latest investigations by the Criminal Division are evident: "Elvira" lied. She has been convicted more than ten times by the French justice system, interned once in a psychiatric hospital, and already imprisoned two years for “slanderous denunciation”. “Elvira” has never been a “journalist” and the story she told to the police was a pure invention. The Criminal Division confirmed Tariq Ramadan's statements: he was not even in France at the time of the alleged incident and he never stayed at the Sofitel hotel in Lyon. The investigators did not find one single proof of any contact between “Elvira” and Tariq Ramadan. "Elvira" declared that she had contacted and seen the police in January 2019 after receiving threatening messages from Tariq Ramadan. The Criminal Division, however, found no trace of these messages and threats, nor of any calls or meetings between "Elvira" and the police. She also said that she handed her cell phone over to the police but investigations reveal that she used it during the hours and days following the date indicated!
On a much more serious and disturbing level is the discovery by the Criminal Division of an exchange of correspondence, dated January 2019 (5 months before "Elvira" filed her complaint), between the the Israeli-French paparazzi Jean-Claude Elfassi and one of his police friends in Southern France. In the exchange, Jean-Claude Elfassi first establishes the first connection with the policeman, then informs him of the future complaint which the policeman would then transfer to Paris. Not coincidentally, Francis Szpiner, another friend of Jean-Claude Elfassi (and the lawyer of the first plaintiff), ends up as "Elvira’s” legal representation. By doing so, he gave some credibility to her otherwise unfounded complaint. Soon, a complaint will be filed against Jean-Claude Elfassi.
According to additional findings from the investigations conducted by the Criminal Division, Jean-Claude Elfassi (who bragged, on social networks, about being responsible for the imprisonment of Tariq Ramadan) is in contact with the four French complainants. In an interview with the Israeli channel I24 in November 2017, he himself revealed that he was also in contact with the Swiss complainant "Brigitte".
Furthermore, the three instructing judges asked the Public Prosecutor's Office to file additional prosecution charges involving two women who were questioned but had not filed any complaints. Based on what legal grounds is this acceptable? In September, the first woman asked the judges to stop bothering her with the case, while the second did not respond to any of the judges' direct or indirect requests. Yet, the judges mandated Dr. Zagury to study if they were also under "psychological grip"! It would not be surprising that these two women, who had not filed a complaint, could be pushed or "invited" to do so since they represent the last ditch attempt at creating a case with non existent crimes, non existent victims and non existent evidence.
The new information also revealed that a friend of "Christelle" (the second complainant), who testified at the request of “Christelle” herself, officially recognised her in the photo taken of the attendees of Tariq Ramadan’s lecture on October 9, 2009. "Christelle" claimed to have been sequestrated in the hotel room during that very same lecture. Four expert companies, and ultimately her own friend, have confirmed that she was no doubt in attendance at the lecture, yet the judges ignore these truths as if they are irrelevant and refuse to draw any conclusions from the lies of "Christelle" and the other complainants.
How will the Prosecutor's Office and the judges explain this judicial catastrophic mess? Professor Tariq Ramadan not only spent ten months in prison; he remains subject to strict judicial control and has been prevented from living, working and moving freely for more than fourteen months. Meanwhile, the three instructing judges, Ms. Camille Guillermet, Mr. Cyril Paquaux and Ms. Camille Palluel, seem to be working hard only on denying the obvious and failing to take into account the numerous undeniable discoveries of the Criminal Division. Why do the judges refuse to pursue the conclusions presented to them? Why have they not already interrogated Jean-Claude Elfassi (as well as the many other directly involved figures present in the file), despite being denounced by several witnesses since the beginning of this case and whose implication is now confirmed by the findings of the Criminal Division?
Justice must remain fully independent of any ideological and political manoeuvre. The Prosecutor's Office and the judges will not be able to delude themselves any longer. The biased investigation of this case must be denounced, and this masquerade of justice must be brought to an end as soon as possible. We invite the media, as well as scholars and grassroot activists committed to justice and equality, to publicise this case.
International Committee for the Independence of Justice (ICIJ)