Tariq Ramadan returns to Swiss justice for his appeal trial – rts.ch

Tariq Ramadan returns to Swiss justice for his appeal trial – rts.ch
Tariq Ramadan returns to Swiss justice for his appeal trial – rts.ch

Accused of rape, the Islamologist was acquitted with the benefit of the doubt at first instance. The RTS delved into this judgment before the second trial scheduled for Monday to Wednesday.

It was almost a year ago to the day. The Geneva Criminal Court acquitted Tariq Ramadan of rape and sexual coercion. The Islamologist was suspected of having abused a woman, nicknamed Brigitte in the media, almost fifteen years earlier in a Geneva hotel.

On the eve of the appeal trial, the RTS Investigation Department reread the first instance judgment. Nearly 70 pages detailing the reasoning of the three judges who acquitted the accused with the benefit of the doubt.

>> Reread: Tried for rape, Islamologist Tariq Ramadan was acquitted in Geneva

Here is the key passage from the judgment: “In view of the antagonistic position of the parties to the procedure, the absence of material elements, the poverty and the contradictions of the various testimonies partly altered by external elements and by the flow of the time since the facts, the findings of the two psychiatrists contradictory on important points and the messages sent by the complainant to the accused after the facts, the Court was not able to form an intimate conviction of guilt beyond any insurmountable doubt.”

Material elements

In its judgment, the Court notes “that no trace of semen or blood was found on the hair extensions” provided by Brigitte and analyzed.

The file does not include any video surveillance images or photographs. It also does not contain any report of traumatic injuries or medical certificate established after the facts reported.

Finally, there are no direct witnesses to the facts, “which is however common in this type of case”.

Brigitte’s statements

In the eyes of the court, the plaintiff’s statements “are on the whole relatively detailed and consistent, even if they contain certain imprecisions”. But it is “understandable and usual for a victim’s statements to present such discrepancies, failing which it would be possible to suspect a story constructed and learned by heart”.

The judges note, however, that numerous events occurred between the reported rape (2008) and the filing of the complaint (2018). “Therefore, the determining elements enabling a judgment on the guilt of the accused must be sought among those chronologically close to the offense, so that they are as little influenced as possible by the passage of time and the subsequent discussions between the complainant and the witnesses with whom she continued to discuss, particularly on the procedure and the press articles.”

The credibility of the witnesses heard

The Court recalls that these are only “indirect witnesses” to whom Brigitte confided after the reported rape. All these people were interviewed by investigators ten years after the events. “The majority of witnesses who collected the complainant’s confidences in the days following the events only remember them poorly and are incapable of reporting a precise sequence of events.”

For the three judges, “certain witnesses interpreted the words of the complainant as describing a rape, others rather as physical violence (…), others rather interpreting these words as a simple sexual episode having taken place went badly. It is therefore difficult to draw a uniform account, particularly with regard to the sexual acts carried out and the detailed sequence of events.”

The findings of the two doctors

According to the court, the two psychiatrists consulted by Brigitte after her meeting with Tariq Ramadan “are contradictory to each other, in particular in their notes taken during the consultations, which are particularly important with regard to the reconstruction of the facts”.

The first doctor thus noted “sexual intercourse without consent / rape”, but he also reported “astonished consent” from Brigitte. The second “did not report a description of penetration or rape, but a perverse hold and elements of violence and sexual coercion”.

Handing over the iron

Brigitte has always claimed that during her meeting with Tariq Ramadan in the hotel lobby in 2008, the Islamologist had asked the staff for an iron and an ironing board. She added that she had carried the iron into the bedroom.

In its judgment, the court noted that “the possibility that the hotel staff brought the iron and board to the defendant in the dining room” was not confirmed by the hotel receptionist at the time. facts. “The latter explained that such a request had only happened once in eighteen years, and moreover after the events.”

Messages exchanged between Brigitte and Tariq Ramadan

When she filed a complaint in 2018, Brigitte provided investigators with numerous exchanges with Tariq Ramandan on social networks. For the court, “the messages exchanged after the facts do not go in the direction of the complainant’s story. In fact, the latter never mentions in any way a need for an explanation on a rape, on violence, or another more general reproach regarding the course of the night (…) She even addresses him explicit words of love, while she says she was brutally raped and thought she would die during that night.

According to the judges, the explanation of these messages given by Brigitte and her doctor, “i.e. distress and the need for an explanation in view of the violence suffered, is possible”.

But the explanation provided by Tariq Ramadan is just as credible, the magistrates believe. His version is “a frustration on the part of the complainant at having been humiliated and bluntly dismissed by a person put on a pedestal, followed by an attempt to remedy this by resuming contact and emphasizing her feelings towards him”.

For all these reasons, the court comes to the conclusion that “from a legal point of view, it has not been established beyond all insurmountable doubt that the defendant would have coerced the complaining party by violence or by psychological pressure , to undergo sexual acts”.

The floor is now given to the second instance judges.

Subject broadcast in the 7:30 p.m. of May 26, 2024.

Fabiano Citroni, RTS Investigation Department

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