Paris (AFP) – Prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, in detention in France over rape allegations, is suffering from multiple sclerosis, but could be treated behind bars, according to judicial medical opinion.
The prominent TV pundit and Oxford University professor, whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, was detained by a French court in February over charges that he raped two Muslim women in France.
A third alleged victim has come forward since then.
In February, a French court dismissed a bid by the 55-year-old Ramadan to be released from detention on health grounds, after his lawyers argued his multiple sclerosis (MS) and nerve damage could not be adequately treated behind bars.
Now, sources told AFP, medics agree that Ramadan has been suffering since 2006 from MS, a disabling disease of the central nervous system, but insist that “if he remains in detention he will continue to receive access to health care,” including four physiotherapy sessions per week.
Ramadan denies the rape charges against him and has been held in a prison near Paris since February 2.
When he made his original bid to avoid detention for health reasons, the first medical evidence given to the court failed to confirm his condition.
According to the expert report handed over to the presiding judges on Wednesday, the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was delivered the following month by two neurosurgeons.
His two original accusers went to police in late October, both alleging that he had raped them in French hotel rooms
In early March, a third woman came forward claiming Ramadan had raped her in Brussels in 2013 and 2014
She accused him of subjecting her to violent and sexually degrading acts during a dozen meetings, often in hotels on the sidelines of conferences.
One of European Islam’s best known figures, he has dismissed the accusations against him as a smear campaign by his enemies and his lawyers argue there are inconsistencies in the women’s accounts.
His supporters — including two million Facebook followers — have lashed out angrily at his arrest, with many complaining that he has been unfairly targeted because he is Muslim.