PARIS (Reuters) - Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic studies accused of rape in France and who had been in detention since February, has been offered bail while an investigation into the case continues, lawyers said on Thursday.
Ramadan, an Oxford University professor, last month admitted to having had sexual relations with two French women. But he has continued to deny accusations that he raped them - accusations that led to him being placed under formal investigation.
He also faces criminal complaints of rape by women in the United States and Switzerland.
The professor, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and has been detained at the penitentiary hospital in Fresnes, south of Paris, sought unsuccessfully to be released on bail several times. But on Thursday he was offered that right by an appeals court.
He will be released on condition that he pays 300,000 euros ($340,000) in bail, hands over his passport to the authorities and checks in at a police station once a week. He would also be banned from leaving France and from getting in touch with the plaintiffs.
“It’s a disappointment for my client but the fight continues,” Eric Morain, a lawyer for one of the women, known only as “Christelle”, told Reuters.
“Tariq Ramadan’s release is logical in view of the latest development in the case that demonstrated that the rape accusations against him were lies,” Ramadan’s lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny, told Reuters.
Married with four children, Ramadan is a grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna. He has a substantial following among young Muslims and has challenged French restrictions on wearing veils.
($1 = 0.8808 euros)
Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Hugh Lawson