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Emmanuel Marsigny, Tariq Ramadan’s lawyer: “Henda Ayari crossed the storm of lies”

Tariq Ramadan’s lawyer tells us about the progress of the case. He denounces the investigators’ incompetence and viciousness.



LeMuslimPost: You criticized the complainants’ inconsistencies but also the “police services’ loyalty.” Why? And do you feel that the investigation is being conducted against Tariq Ramadan?

Emmanuel Marsigny: The complaints, lodged at the end of October 2017 for acts that allegedly occurred eight and almost six years ago and without the plaintiffs bringing any evidence, should have been thoroughly investigated even before Mr. Ramadan was summoned. It is absurd not to have attempted to verify the charges before pouncing on Mr. Ramadan while from the beginning the investigation already showed inconsistencies, lies and serious doubts. 

“The police and judicial machine precipitated things”

The recent developments as well as Ms. Ayari’s changing version of the date of events and the hotel where these events would have happened confirm what I have been saying from the beginning. We went too fast, the police and judicial system precipitated things. 

It is curious that exculpatory material available to the police was not used and was left under seal. It’s either due to incompetence or viciousness. It may be both. I publicly stated that precisely because of that fact, I was going to request that the 2nd DPJ [judicial police division] be divested. This has been done, but the prosecution was quick to communicate and provide other reasons this. For them, it is inconceivable that the defense can be right.

Despite the complainants’ contradictions, Tariq Ramadan remains in prison, the reasons given were to avoid any risk of him fleeing the country, re-offend or what they call the “false alibi” –  the flight reservation from October 9, 2009… Do you understand the reasons given for refusing to release Tariq Ramadan?

Stop with this story of false alibi which was only an error committed in custody because the events were old. On the contrary, the investigations have perfectly demonstrated that the initial plan was indeed the one cited by Mr. Ramadan and which changed at the last moment, something he did not remember any more, and it’s perfectly legitimate for this to happen eight years later.

In any case, it does not change anything since he never denied having met this civil party. Until Ms. Ayari changed her version of the facts and completely discredited her own testimony, the justice has pretended not to see that the charges, including those filed by the other civil party, contain huge loopholes and inconsistencies. This is so true that our arguments are not being responded to!

“Would justice have already decided? There is an inconsistency that I am denouncing”

This file reveals the pattern that is made too often in France of this central principle of our law which is the presumption of innocence. It is denied to most accused while the balance of criminal procedure and the rights that go with it are precisely based on this principle. 

If it is now up to the accused to prove his innocence, well it should be said clearly and the law should then be adapted accordingly by giving the attorneys investigative powers in particular. How can I understand that while Mr. Ramadan is presumed innocent and the purpose of the inquiry is precisely to show whether a crime has been committed, his detention is motivated by a risk of repeating the offense?

Has justice already decided? There is an inconsistency that I am denouncing. As for the risk of fleeing the country, it exists only for those who want to believe so, but it is not based on any objective element. This is a trial of intent. The best guarantee of representation is the wish to defend oneself to prove one’s innocence. Fleeing the country would be tantamount to an admission of guilt. Mr. Ramadan should not be in pre-trial detention.

Legally, does this mean he can remain in jail until his trial?

In theory yes, but this assumption seems surreal.

The first complainant, Henda Ayari, recently changed her story. What do these changes in place and date of the supposed rape imply?

In a case where the prosecution is based solely on the complainant’s words, her credibility, her personality, and the credibility of her story must be looked at. This change of her version of events, due to the contradictions in her story, shows that she is not telling the truth and that her story is implausible. She also indicates that a few hours before the [alleged] facts, there was torrential rain. The weather forecast that day shows it did not rain a drop. She must have crossed a storm of lies!

“It’s better to appear on TV shows than accept a confrontation”

What about a confrontation between the complainant and Tariq Ramadan?

She was so sure of herself that she refused to be confronted with the person she accuses during the custody. It seems it is better to appear on TV trials where you are sure not to be contradicted!

Regarding Paule-Emma Aline, again, there are elements that contradict the statements of this complainant…

Yes, and they are many! In addition to the improbability of her story, such as staying in the hotel room where the alleged events would have taken place for several hours waiting alone for the return of her supposed rapist, the fact checking that were made invalidate her story.

Tariq Ramadan will be heard on June 5, this time for the charges that Mounia Rabbouj has accused him of. What can you tell us about this file?

Mr. Ramadan has not yet had the opportunity to explain himself about these charges since he has not been heard by the judges for more than four months! It is true that when he requested to be present during the debate on his release request on May 22, that request was denied to him. I already have stated that he knew this woman and that the relationship he had with her was not the one she has described. He is impatient to finally be able to explain that on Tuesday.

Once the three complainants have been heard by the judges, are you going to make a new release request for your client?

Maybe even before.

“Tariq Ramadan has not seen a neurologist since March 9”

In what state of health is Tariq Ramadan in and how is his morale?

He suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. The experts claim that his state of health is compatible with detention under the condition that he has access to multidisciplinary medical care, which is not assured. Imagine that he has not seen a neurologist since March 9th! His state of health is so compatible with detention that he is being hospitalized since his incarceration! Lesions have appeared and are surely irreversible. This situation is unbelievable and even a request for a new medical expertise was denied. As for his morale, I will let you easily imagine: thrown in prison, presented as potentially dangerous, deprived of family visits for a month and a half, sick, prevented from having access to his file… the list is long.

Do you consider that the investigation was exploited by the media, which notably spoke of issues that are irrelevant to the case, such as raising questions about his diplomas?

It is obvious that the high level of media coverage is hardly compatible with the serenity that legal actors, including lawyers, need. As proof of this, my colleague, Mr Szpiner’s statement on RTL radio, whom I knew better and who would do better to read his file instead of using the media narrative of the case that is often partial and biased.  Is it of his standard to attack Mr. Ramadan’s defender? Hasn’t he anything more interesting to say about the substance of the case? It is true that in the face of changes to the versions and the lies of his clients, so it is better to try to divert the attention.

Did the testimonials in Belgium and Switzerland have any influence on the investigation?

Obviously. These expertly orchestrated testimonials soil the file [as if to say] look elsewhere too, there are others! While in Belgium there has never been a single complaint for acts of sexual assault and it is Mr. Ramadan who was the victim of a smear campaign that targeted his private life, and it is Mr. Ramadan who took the initiative to seize justice. As for Switzerland, so far, we have nothing but a newspaper article.

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