French court orders Tariq Ramadan to stay in prison

France, 23 Feb – A French judge has denied a request to release Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, who has been detained on preliminary rape charges, local media and news agencies reported.

The Paris Court of Appeal on Thursday denied a request to release Ramadan after a medical expert said his health status did not preclude him from staying in detention, Le Monde newspaper reported.

Ramadan, a Swiss citizen and Oxford University professor of Islamic studies, was detained in early February as part of a preliminary probe into rape charges.

He has denied the allegations against him.

Ramadan, who was briefly hospitalised recently, refused to be present for the hearing on his possible release on Thursday, AP news agency reported.

He reportedly suffers from multiple sclerosis and neuropathy, Le Monde said.

Two women came forward last October to accuse Ramadan, 55, of rape in relation to two separate incidents that allegedly occurred in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

Both women filed charges against him.

About 80 people rallied outside the Paris courthouse late on Thursday to call for Ramadan’s release from detention, Le Monde reported.

Ramadan is one of the most prominent Islamic scholars in Europe.

He is also the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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