Maryam Ramadan, the daughter of the prominent academic and thinker Professor Tariq Ramadan, talks about her father’s incarceration and what appears to be a travesty of French “justice”.
Q: Where does the legal case against Tariq Ramadan currently stand?
My father is indicted in two complaints while he is considered an “assisted witness” in a third one.
This means, according to the judges, that there is no credible element to indict him on this third complaint categorically denied since the beginning.
His lawyer asked for a disbanding of the first two complaints, noting that no proof or evidence has been found against his client.
The judges considered it too early to make this decision and the lawyer has appealed this decision.
Just a note that the judges only retain suspicions against my father and neglect, delay or simply ignore all the exculpatory evidence (lies, contradictions, inconsistencies, communications between the plaintiffs, etc.)
The case has collapsed but my father is still in custody because of a delayed confrontation (originally scheduled for July 18) to be now held on September 18 with the second plaintiff.
Q: His lawyers denounce the conditions of detention. Could you explain these conditions?
My father suffers from multiple sclerosis. His illness is serious and in fact, incurable. It has worsened during his detention and he is now disabled (he moves with a walker), with intense and constant headaches and cramps since more than 7 months now.
He has not received the proper medical care he should receive.
He is in solitary confinement: alone 24 hours a day, which is akin to torture, not only physical but also psychological.
The judges retained only the first part of the expert report (mandated by the judges) which indicated that his health is compatible with the detention if certain conditions are fulfilled. But they are not. For example, the doctors in charge mandated that his condition require one to two physiotherapy sessions per day; he only receives 2 or 3 per week! Maybe we should have looked into getting health insurance, as this way he may have had more access to physiotherapy. If you know of someone in a similar situation, it may be in the interest of yourself and theirs to check out a site like https://www.iselect.com.au/health-insurance/ for more information on health insurance.
This treatment is inappropriate and degrading. It’s serious. His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, asked that the presumption of innocence and dignity of Tariq Ramadan be respected. The judges do not care. Moreover, he does not receive all his mail and we know today that 3 months of mail (from March to May) have completely disappeared!
Q: Why do the judges systematically refuse to grant him provisional release?
The judges refuse to release him by using a variety of pretences, some of which are dubious and even laughable.
First they said my father was “pretending to be sick.” Then, that he would threaten the plaintiffs, even though he made a public call to respect the plaintiffs, not to insult them, and to respect justice (this from the beginning of the case between October 2017 and January 2018, before his incarceration).
The judges even claimed that my father “was Swiss and Egyptian” and that he was going to flee to Egypt! Tariq Ramadan has never had Egyptian nationality (he only has Swiss nationality) and he is banned from entering Egypt since the last 20 years for political reasons!
The judges also said my father could be a dangerous criminal who could re-offend.
The psychological expertise has actually shown the opposite.
So talking about re-offending is clearly aiming to flout the presumption of innocence that makes him guilty until proven otherwise.
To refuse his provisional liberty on the pretext of recidivism would mean taking he is deemed guilty even before being judged!
It should be added that since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, Tariq Ramadan was the only man around the world whose presumption of innocence has not been respected. In France, in particular, all the others are free.
Q: Regarding the investigation, how do you evaluate the arguments put forward by the plaintiffs?
The accusers’ complaints are full of lies, contradictions and inconsistencies.
The first plaintiff, Henda Ayari, gave 3 different versions and lied twice by changing the date and place of the alleged rape.
Her own friends, whom she brought as witnesses: her friend, uncle and son say she is a mythomaniac.
Her family provided pictures and videos of the wedding she was attending the night the so-called rape supposedly occurred.
The second plaintiff, Paule-Emma A., (baptised Christelle by the press) lied about not knowing the first plaintiff.
She has also changed her version of events 3 times. She says she met 5 people (at the hotel, on the bus, at the police station), but no one has been able to confirm her account. A friend of hers testified: she told her that she had a plan to bring down Tariq Ramadan.
We also know that Paule-Emma A. is in contact with known enemies of my father and she is part of a far-right French Islamophobic party.
Q: Do you still believe in his innocence?
Not only am I sure of his innocence, but I am convinced, by the court record and the false pretexts put forward to keep my father in prison, that the judges themselves know he is innocent.
They are under political and media pressure.
French justice is clearly not independent in this case. My father is a political prisoner. He bothers because he is free, independent, and does not hesitate to criticise French politicians and intellectuals.
They want him to pay for his stances and his “audacity” which, for them, is unacceptable from a Muslim or an Arab!
Q: As you well know, everyone in the region has been following this case very closely since the beginning. What message do you want to convey to your audience?
We must learn from life’s challenges. Nothing happens by chance, everything has a reason.
We must rely on God and trust Him. It may be that we do not like one thing and that it is good for us. God loves patient people.
Nobody is perfect and there are things that concern each of one us in our relationship to God.
And among the most important teachings of Islam is to not interfere with what does not concern us.
Everyone has a personal and intimate relationship with God.
Now, as to the human justice, that concerns us. We must not accept injustices.
One must resist with one’s hands, one’s word and one’s heart.
We must denounce the unfairness suffered by my father, as well as all those who are discriminated against throughout the world.
We need courage and patience. The only thing that is forbidden for us is passivity and complicit silence towards injustice.
This has been my father’s message over the last 30 years.
To remain dignified, to defend justice, to speak words of truth, without violence, with calmness, determination and courage.
Translated from French. Source: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/marianne-france/blog/120918/maryam-ramadan-mon-pere-est-un-prisonnier-politique