October 22, 2018 / 4:41 PM / 2 months ago

Oxford Islamic scholar Ramadan admits to 'sex games', denies rape

PARIS (Reuters) - Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic studies, said on Monday he had engaged in “sex games” with two women in France who accuse him of rape, but said the “submissive-dominant” relationships were consensual.

FILE PHOTO: Oxford University professor and author Tariq Ramadan talks with a journalist after a conference at the Er-Rahma mosque in Nantes, western France, April 25, 2010. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

It is the first time in the near one-year long case that the Oxford University professor, who has taken a leave of absence from the British institution, admits to having had sexual relations with the plaintiffs.

“He can finally speak freely, and he’s relieved,” his lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, told reporters after Ramadan, the grandson of an Islamist thinker who founded the Muslim Brotherhood, was heard by investigators in Paris.

Ramadan faced one of the accusers, named only as “Christelle”, during a 10-hour confrontation on September 18.

The woman, an Islam convert who suffers from disabilities arising from a car accident, says Ramadan raped her in October 2009 in a hotel room in Lyon, southeastern France.

Ramadan said he had “relations akin to sex games of the submissive-dominant kind, but always in a consensual and knowing way,” his lawyer said.

“It has been one year now that Mr Ramadan’s defendants have been playing tricks to save his cause. But the truth is that he lied from the beginning of this case by denying he had sexual relations and that it took one year to confess,” Jonas Haddad, a lawyer for the other plantiff, Henda Ayari, told Reuters.

“Will it take him another year to confess the rest?” he said.

Ramadan’s lawyer said a series of text messages found in the two women’s mobile phones showed the relations were consensual. He filed a request for Ramadan, in custody since he was notified of the French investigation on February 2, to be freed.

Married with four children, Ramadan is a grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna. He enjoys a substantial following among young Muslims and has challenged French restrictions on wearing veils.

He also faces a third criminal complaint for rape by a Swiss woman in Geneva.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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