Tariq Ramadan accused of smear campaign against alleged rape victims

The suspended Oxford professor claims the alleged attacks were consensual despite earlier having denied any contact with the accusers

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 26, 2016, Swiss Islamologist Tariq Ramadan takes part in a conference on the theme "Live together", in Bordeaux. / AFP / MEHDI FEDOUACH
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An alleged rape victim of a former Oxford professor has accused the academic of trying to “destroy” her life with an extensive smear campaign.

In an interview with UK newspaper The Telegraph on Friday, the woman, known by the pseudonym Christelle, said she had tried to commit suicide after supporters of Tariq Ramadan announced that an international day of action, to protest the French government's handling of the professor's case, would take place on her birthday.

“They’ve decided that my birthday wouldn’t be mine anymore, that wouldn’t decide anything anymore, that’s the message,” she told the newspaper.

“I’m just out from a serious depression,” she said, adding that she had put on 30 kilos in weight.

Christelle, 47, detailed the “smears” she has been subjected to after accusing Mr Ramadan of raping her in 2017.

In September Mr Ramadan published a 300-page book in which he describes Christelle and his other accusers as “liars” who “were jealous or who felt cheated and who looked to settle scores after the facts”.

Christelle had tried to block the publication of the book, which reveals her identity 84 times, but was refused by a French court which ruled her name was already known to the public in France.

A website called ‘Free Tariq Ramadan’ contains articles questioning the truthfulness of the professor’s accusers.

“The articles give an image of me of a white supremacist,” she said, referring to articles posted on the site linking her to hard-right politician Marine Le Pen.

“Each time I try to put the head out of the water to stand up again, each time he campaigns in order to destroy me at a social level, economically and with my friends as well.”

Mr Ramadan, 57, was suspended from his post at Oxford University after he was charged with raping a feminist activist in 2012 and a disabled woman in 2009.

A spokesman for Oxford University said: “The University has consistently acknowledged the gravity of the allegations against Professor Ramadan, while emphasising the importance of fairness and the principles of justice and due process.”

“An agreed leave of absence implies no presumption or acceptance of guilt and allows Professor Ramadan to address the extremely serious allegations made against him, all of which he categorically denies, while meeting our principal concern - addressing heightened and understandable distress, and putting first the well being of our students and staff."

Mr Ramadan was held in custody for 9 months in 2018 in a case dubbed the #MeToo of the Muslim world.

The case against the professor was expanded in October after two more alleged victims were identified through documents found on his computers.