A French judge has denied a request to release Professor Tariq Ramadan who has been detained for three weeks on preliminary rape charges.
The Paris Court of Appeal on Thursday denied the request after a medical expert said the academic’s health status did not preclude him from staying in detention.
Ramadan, a Swiss citizen and Oxford University professor of Islamic studies, was detained in early February as part of a preliminary probe into rape charges. He has denied the allegations against him.
The Free Tariq Ramadan support group say his family is devastated by the news.
In a statement they said: “They were hoping the judge would respond to international calls demanding his release and for fair treatment under the law. Sadly, the nightmare continues with Prof. Ramadan’s forced detention in a solitary cell, under inhumane conditions, and with no proper access to required medical treatment, as he prepares his defense against the charges.”
“Prof. Ramadan was denied by the judge, in spite of two neurologists from Geneva and London, a medical team in the French prison holding Prof. Ramadan, and a medical team in France, all confirming that he suffers from two chronic illnesses, including Multiple Sclerosis.
“His personal doctor and the prison doctor both specifically attributed Prof. Ramadan’s severe health deterioration in recent weeks to his unjust imprisonment, citing the prison’s inadequacy to treat him properly.”
The statement added that his detention is politically motivated.
“If there was ever any doubt about the political nature of this case, then the judge’s ruling today, the conditions of confinement and denial of visitation, and the prosecutorial misconduct should serve as abundant evidence of an organized campaign against Prof. Ramadan.
“It is clear that the French justice system has only one goal: To keep a renowned scholar and prominent critic of the government’s discriminatory policies in prison indefinitely, despite him not being convicted of a single crime. His family has not seen or heard from him in over three weeks yet they are denied with no explanation from the court. Prof. Ramadan’s health continues to deteriorate dramatically yet his years-long diagnoses do not even exist, according to the court.
“It is clear that the French justice system has no intention of being a neutral arbiter in this case. This is not even a case of guilty until proven innocent since evidence presented by the defense that could prove Prof. Ramadan’s innocence has no bearing on the court and media’s judgment of guilt.”