The Swiss Muslim academic Professor Tariq Ramadan has been freed from jail after ten months of detention without charge near Paris, but only under strict bail conditions.
A French appeal court ordered the release of the 56 year old earlier today during a public hearing in Paris.
He is being investigated on allegations of raping two women. He denies rape but has admitted to consensual sexual relations.
During the hearing Ramadan protested his innocence and said: “Where would I flee to when everything points to my innocence? I’m going to stay in France and defend my honour and innocence.”
Previously Ramadan had been denied bail on the grounds that he might flee the country or put pressure on witnesses.
“I want you to make your decision with your souls and your consciences, not because I’m called Tariq Ramadan and I’ve been demonised in this country,” he told the judges.
“I accept that people will criticise me for lying because I wanted to protect my family and my daughter who is in this room. But who has lied the most? Who has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement?”
Ramadan, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, added: “I’ve just spent 10 months in prison. I’m innocent and I’ve paid with my health. I can’t walk normally.”
His lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, said his release was “logical” given the lying allegations against him.
And his daughter, Maryam Ramadan, tweeted: “My father’s demand for release has been accepted!!! Hamdulah!”
French media is reporting that his bail conditions include having to report once a week to the nearest police station, a ban from leaving the country and the payment of 300,000 Euros bail.
The Free Tariq Ramadan Campaign posted the following on its Facebook page: “There was a hearing today in front of the Appeal judge who decided to free Tariq Ramadan on bail. We thank him for his courage and sense of due process… Thank you for your support and solidarity. We have not given up and we will not give up.”