Open letter of support: Tariq Ramadan Case - Calling on Impartial and Equal Justice

Respect for a person’s fundamental rights, irrespective of his origins, his religion or his political opinions, constitutes the very foundation upon which democracy is built


Tariq Ramadan has been held in solitary confinement at the maximum-security wing of the Fleury-Mérogis prison (Essonne) since February 2.

On February 15, his health suddenly deteriorated, a result of medical neglect. Mr. Ramadan suffers from multiple sclerosis as well as a second, non-identified health condition.

He was transported by ambulance to the Hall of Justice for his hearing where the court was to rule on his application for release from detention.

In support of his petition for release, his lawyers Yassine Bouzrou and Julie Granier handed the presiding magistrates a letter signed by the prison medical officer stipulating that further detention would prove prejudicial to Mr. Ramadan’s health.

His legal representatives also offered guarantees against flight risks of their client, the original motive for his detention. These included: surrender of his Swiss passport (the only one he possesses), daily appearances at a local police station, a ban on leaving France, and a security deposit of 50,000 euros.

Despite these measures, the court postponed its decision and ordered a more thorough medical examination. Mr. Ramadan was then returned to confinement, despite availability of measures that would be less risky for his health, including an electronic bracelet or a formal state of house arrest.

Treatment of such severity, accompanied by a clearly irregular legal process (including the ‘loss’ of important evidence provided by the defence and apparent collusion of witnesses) gives further weight to concerns and even questions about the highly particular nature that Mr. Ramadan’s case has been prosecuted.

Condemned even before the beginning of the enquiry by the media and individuals known for their visceral opposition to his political and religious views, Mr. Ramadan’s right to the presumption of innocence has been consistently violated since the fall of 2017.

He has been placed in solitary confinement; his family has been unable either to visit or to speak to him by telephone for the last 23 days. All this while other individuals accused of similar offenses have not been imprisoned, and in fact still enjoy full freedom of movement.

Given the extreme severity and unfairness of such treatment, what are the citizens of France to believe? Surely that there exists a dual system of justice.

What women’s movement can continue to display such harshness toward some, and yet such indulgence toward others?

Recent campaigns on social media have shown that sexual abuse of women is a significant issue, one that impacts society as a whole.

Rape is a crime that must be punished. All the more reason for the women’s movement, which enjoys widespread support, not to be exploited for political ends unrelated to its aims and goals.

It is not for us to judge Tariq Ramadan’s guilt or innocence. In the spirit of respect for the plaintiffs, we support his right to a full and just legal process.

In view of Tariq Ramadan’s rapidly deteriorating health, we call for his immediate release.

Respect for a person’s fundamental rights, irrespective of his origins, his religion or his political opinions, constitutes the very foundation upon which democracy is built.


Joan W. Scott, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University 
Sonia Dayan Herzbrun, Sociologist and Philosopher
Christine Delphy, Sociologist, Feminist Activist 
Michelle Guerci, Journalist, Anti-racist Feminist
Alain Gresh, Journalist
Judith Bernard, Teacher, Film Director, Journalist
Michèle Sibony, Anti-racist Activist
Stéphanie Chevrier, Director of Don Quichotte publications
François Burgat, Political Analyst
Geneviève Rail, Feminist Activist, University of Concordia, Canada
Olivier Le Cour GrandMaison, Academic
Françoise Vergès, Political Analyst and Feminist Anti-racist Activist 
Catherine Samary, Economist
Pr Ramon Grosfoguel, Professor, Berkeley University
Felwine Sarr, Writer, Economist
François Gèze, Publisher
Pr Stathis Kouvelakis, Political Theory, King's College, London 
Pr Simon Saunders, Professor of Philosophy, Oxford University
Mireille Fanon Mendès-France, ex UN Expert, Legal Consultant
Marwan Muhammad, Author and Statisticien
Pr Kalypso Nicolaidis, Professor of International Relations, Oxford University
Eric Hazan, Publisher
Dominique Ziegler, Author, Film Director
Gustave Massiah, Economist
Nathalie Dollé, Journalist
Marie Lorraine Pradelles, Psychoanalyst
Aminata Traoré, Ex-Minister of Culture, Mali, Anti-Globalization Activist
Pr Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University
Nathan Lean, Writer and Researcher, Oxford University
Pr Sho Konishi, Associate Professor in Modern Japanese History, Oxford University
Pr Ian Neary, Professor in the Politics of Japan, Oxford University 
Jean Daniel Belfond, Director of “Presses du Châtelet” et Archipel
Karen Armstrong, Author and Researcher in Comparative Religions 
Jonathan AC Brown, Professor at the University of Georgetown, Washington D.C
Massimo Campanini, Historian in Islamic Philosophy, Italy
Didier Lestrade, Journalist and Writer
Pr John Esposito, Professor of Religion & International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 
Kristine Baker, Host, TV Presenter, Journalist and Author 
Pr Walter Armbrust, University Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern Studies, Oxford University
Pr Eugene Rogan, Professor of Modern History, Oxford University 
Pr Paul Betts, Professor of Modern History of Europe, Sussex University
Nadine Rosa Rosso,Teacher and activist 
Hugh Whittaker, Director of the Nissan Japanese Institute, Oxford University 
Pr Leigh A Payne, Sociology Professor, Oxford University 
Ramon Sarro, Dean of St Antony College, Oxford University
Pr Jan Zielonka, Professor of European politics, Oxford University 
Toby Matthiesen, Research Head, International Relations in the Middle East, Oxford University
Pr Khaled Abou El Fadl, Professor at the University of California
Ismahane Chouder, Feminist Activist MTE
Pr Richard Friedli, Professor, Comparative Study of Religion, Fribourg University
Malika Hamidi, Author and Sociologist 
Nabil Ennasri, Doctor in Political Science 
Fanny Bauer Motti, Doctor and Clinical Psychologist 
Houria Bouteldja, Anti-racist Activist 
Blondin Cissé, Philosopher and Conference Coordinator, Senegal 
Farid Esack, Write, Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Johannesburg
Ebrahim Moosa, Professor of Islamic Studies, Notre-Dame University, Indiana
Abdourahmane Seck, Anthropologist and Historian 
Mame Penda Ba, Political Science Professor at the University of Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Senegal 
Cheikh Boikari Fofana, President of the Supreme Council of Imams, Ivory Coast 
Farid Hafez, Chief of Religious Studies department, University of Johannesburg
Moussa Ibn Yacoub, Humanitarian Worker 
Rachid Id Yassine, Sociologist 
Ahmet Kavas, Diplomat 
Doudou Jacques Faty, Professional football player 
Salim Kerkar, Professional football player 
Philippe Christanval, Past professional football player 
Demba Ba, Professional football player

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