Court orders medical tests as Tariq Ramadan reveals ‘multiple sclerosis’ diagnosis

According to his lawyers, the 55-year-old Swiss national’s health has been seriously degraded during his 12 days in a Paris jail

FILE - In this Feb.7 2016 file photo, Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan delivers a speech during a French Muslim organizations meeting in Lille, northern France.  A French judge has decided to keep prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan in detention, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, four days after he was charged with two alleged cases of rape by women who sought his counsel. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)
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Tariq RamadanTariq Ramadan, the prominent Islamic scholar who has been remanded in custody in France since February 3 charged with two alleged rapes, will face a medical evaluation to decide if he is to remain in prison after it was claimed by his camp that he was suffering from multiple sclerosis.

According to his lawyers, the 55-year-old Swiss national’s health has been seriously degraded during his 12 days in a Paris jail. After the tests, the Court of Appeal in the French capital will make a ruling on whether to release him or not on February 22.

The revelation of the diagnosis of Mr Ramadan’s previously unknown condition on Wednesday has been seen in some quarters as being part of an explicit media strategy by his supporters. At the same time that the medical news was shared, a video was released of his wife, Iman Ramadan, in which she claimed that her husband had “had full confidence in justice and unfortunately [had] justice wronged him.”

She claimed that his family have not been allowed to visit or communicate with him by phone, she said. “I’m not sure right now that he’s receiving a fair and just treatment.”

“It is enough to just read the press or turn on the TV and think that he’s guilty … he is unfortunately a victim of this media lynching and political pressure exerted against him.

“There are so many lies at this point that it became unbearable,” she continued. “I am torn between reading what the press says about him and hide in my bubble waiting justice to be served.”

The French newspaper Liberation claimed that the release of the two new pieces of information showed "a diabolically efficient sense of timing by Mr Ramadan's supporters."

It also noted that the intervention by Mrs Ramadan had been a “surprise” because she had previously hidden “in the shadows” and had not made any statement about the case.

Mr Ramadan, who is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, was accused by two women of having raped them; one, author Henda Ayari, claimed that she was assaulted at a congress of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France in 2012.

Another unnamed woman said she was attacked in 2009 at a hotel. Mr Ramadan, a senior research fellow at Oxford's St Antony’s College, filed a complaint of slander against Ms Ayari after she made the accusations against him last year. Mr Ramadan was arrested in late January before being charged and taken into custody.

More than 43,000 people have signed a petition pledging their support for Mr Ramadan, which says the accusations are “invested in a smear campaign which is the continuation of the demonisation efforts that have been aimed at him since the beginning of his intellectual and militant commitment in 1990.”