Over two week ago, Tariq Ramadan regained his freedom after the Paris Court of Appeal ruled custody should be terminated and reversed the decision of the Judge of Liberties, under conditions. “Tariq Ramadan’s release is logical in light of recent developments in the case demonstrating the rape charges are false," said, Emmanuel Marsigny, following this first judicial victory.
The next few weeks will be decisive as a request for dismissal of all charges has been filed.
What happened during hearing?
After listening at length to Marsigny, Tariq Ramadan and the civil party, the judges annulled the first decision previously made by their colleagues, stipulating Tariq Ramadan should remain in custody. Many inconsistencies of the plaintiffs were examined during the appeal.
The investigating judges
First, the investigating judges’ report read during the appeal made no mention of exculpatory elements, particularly the plaintiffs’ sexual text messages exposing their lies. It was a completely one sided report, while the law imposes a fair examination of all elements.
The main investigative judges omitted many elements, a judicial failure that Marsigny pointed out vehemently.
It was also pointed out that the plaintiffs’ psychiatric examinations were never added to the file by the judges. A fundamental element that could explain the plaintiffs’ lies and behaviors. On the other hand, Tariq Ramadan’s psychiatric examinations were included and attest that he posed no threat. In addition, the expert confirmed Tariq Ramadan has no perverse tendencies. However, the investigating judges retained and quoted from the psychologist's report only one sentence out of context rendering the content ambiguous.
Inconsistencies, lies and truth
Tariq Ramadan was finally able to express himself during this hearing that was public for the first time and explained at length the various aspects of the case.
His words were powerful asking the magistrates to judge on the facts and not because he's called "Tariq Ramadan".Tired, but dignified and resistant, He went over point by point the various inconsistencies.
Regarding the pressure the plaintiffs were supposedly enduring, he stated that before pre-trial detention, he refused more than 34 media interview requests in order to allow "justice" to take its course. While, on the other side, the plaintiffs were leading an unprecedented media lynching campaign against him.
The relationships for several years between the plaintiffs were also exposed, thereby explaining the similarities in narratives.
Tariq Ramadan talked about an unjust incarceration that has had profound and irreversible medical consequences.
“I have just spent ten months in prison, I am innocent, I paid for it with my health, I cannot walk any more (...) Where would I flee? While everything points to my innocence.(....) I will stay in France and defend my honor and my innocence".
Marsigny also made a powerful plea on many points of the case including the numerous sexual text messages sent by Henda Ayari and Paule-Emma Aline. Paule-Emma Aline’s aggressive and violent character was also stressed. Marsigny said: "Paule-Emma Aline sends death threats to me, as the lawyer.”
Weak case for civil party The civil party, meanwhile, argued its case clumsily. Neither lawyers Morain nor Szpiner contested the text messages proving a rape had never occurred or explained their clients lies.
Szpiner began by referring to Islam: "I stand against the stoning of adulterous women," he said, before pointing to Tariq Ramadan, “and speaking in the name of Muslim community: " “Tariq Ramadan is holding his community captive," he thundered. Words deemed offensive and inappropriate by many in court.
This was yet another incredible attempt to demonize Tariq Ramadan.
Morain, meanwhile, stammered through and brutally challenged Tariq Ramadan several times. This aggressiveness shows the weakness of the file, said a source close to the case. The plaintiff’s lawyers also mentioned the supposed pressure exercised against their clients, a pressure that has not been based in fact. The two plaintiffs claim to have been harassed but were unable to come up with evidence of this.
What happens now? The case is likely to evolve in the coming weeks, in favor of Tariq Ramadan. A request for charges to be thrown out were filed in early November. For months, those calling for due process had finally something to celebrate. They have been denouncing the unprecedented judicial harassment against Tariq Ramadan.