The family of Professor Tariq Ramadan has issued an urgent plea to French authorities to provide the renowned Islamic scholar and author – imprisoned on alleged trumped up rape charges since February 2 – with proper medical treatment as he suffers from multiple sclerosis and a neuropathy.
The Oxford University professor whose grandfather founded Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, denies charges that he raped two Muslim women in France.
A member of his family, Aymen Ramadan, a Neurosurgeon and member of Swiss Medical Association penned the following plea:
• “Tariq Ramadan is innocent until proven guilty. He must be treated in a manner comparable to that of several French public personalities who are able to move about without restriction despite having been accused of rape.
• Tariq Ramadan denies all the accusations made against him; he voluntarily presented himself to French judicial authorities to prove his innocence; he has never had the slightest intention of fleeing or of threatening his accusers in any way.
• He has, from the outset, declared his intention to use all legal means possible to defend his rights and to clear his name. To deny him bail on the flimsy pretext that he might commit another criminal act presupposes a guilty verdict and violates the principle of presumption of innocence.
• Contrary to rumor, we affirm unequivocally that Tariq Ramadan possesses only a Swiss passport.
• Tariq Ramadan has been held in inadmissible detention conditions: no visiting rights were granted for 45 days; he has had no access to his legal file or his mail; he is being held in solitary confinement. Clearly the intent of the authorities is to break him!
• Tariq Ramadan’s health has worsened day by day in prison, where he is being attended by a rehabilitation specialist who is administering medication for pain. This physician is not a neurologist and is thus unqualified to comment either on the progression of his illness or on the pathologies from which he has been suffering since 2014: multiple sclerosis and a neuropathy of unknown origin.
• Despite presentation of medical certificates and the fact that nine specialists have attested that Tariq Ramadan is indeed suffering from MS, and in spite of the opinion of the chief medical officer at the Fleury-Mérogis prison, Dr. Farid Mehareb, who declared his health “incompatible with further incarceration”, he continues to be held in circumstances in which proper treatment cannot be ensured. His health has been deteriorating rapidly, with consequences that may prove irreversible.
• On March 26 2018 Olivier Gagnebin, Swiss Consul General in Paris, to whom we express our sincere thanks, visited Tariq Ramadan at the Fresnes prison hospital, to which he had been transferred. Mr. Gagnebin found him “extremely stressed, and experiencing problems of locomotion.” Tariq Ramadan entered prison walking tall; today he has partially lost the use of his legs and his right arm. He is suffering from debilitating headaches.
These are the results of the excessive measures that have been brought to bear on a public personality who, we repeat, must be considered innocent until proven guilty.
The fact that he has been denied access to appropriate treatment that has caused him acute distress is in fact a form of torture.
We hereby insist that Tariq Ramadan be treated with dignity, and that he be provided with the medical care necessary to allow him to ensure his defense.
In our view further imprisonment is in no way justified.”