Oxford University professor and government adviser Tariq Ramadan has been detained for questioning months after two women filed rape charges against him, according to a legal source.
The prominent Swiss Islam academic was summoned for questioning with Paris judicial police and taken into custody "as part of a preliminary inquiry in Paris into rape and assault allegations", the source said, confirming a report by RTL radio.
He can be detained for questioning for a maximum of 48 hours after which he could be simply freed, placed under formal investigation or made an "assistant witness" – a status suggesting there is less reason to suspect he committed a crime.
Prof Ramadan has previously strongly denied all allegations against him and has claimed he is being targeted by "a campaign of slander clearly orchestrated by my longtime adversaries".
In October, Henda Ayari, a former Salafist turned secular feminist author, alleged Mr Ramadan had raped her in a hotel room in 2012. She had mentioned the rape in a book published in 2016 but said she had not named Mr Ramadan after receiving "threats".
She said she had decided to "name and shame" Prof Ramadan as a "pervert guru" following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Referring to the alleged rape, she said he had "pounced on my like a wild animal" after she went to tell him she admired his work.
"He kissed me really hard... then for a few seconds he choked me, I really thought I was going to die".
She said that in his eyes, "either you're veiled or you are raped", adding that he "uses Islam to satisfy his sexual urges".
The second complainant – a 42-year old convert to Islam - has alleged that she was raped by Prof Ramadan in the Hilton hotel in Lyon in 2009.
Once inside, she said he had kicked away crutches she was using due to an injured leg and "jumped on me".
"You kept me waiting now you will pay dear," she alleges he said before subjecting her to "very brutal scenes of sexual violence", including being raped with "an object". He then dragged her to the bathroom by her hair and urinated on her, she alleged in an interview with Le Monde. She went straight to a doctor and has medical evidence of her assault, she alleges.
The unnamed complainant said she later received a text message from Prof Ramadan asking to see her again "as if we had spent a wonderfully romantic and tender evening together". After she refused she alleged she was subjected to "months of harassment and threats from men who followed me in the street; one threatened to kill me".
Prof Ramadan also faces accusations from four Swiss women who say he made sexual advances to them when they were studying under him as teenagers in Geneva.
One of the women told Tribune de Geneve newspaper that the academic made unsuccessful sexual advances to her when she was 14 years old.
Another alleged he had sexual relations with her in the back of his car when she was 15 years old.
The other two women said they were 18 when they had sexual relations with him, but accused him of abusing his position of power as their teacher.
Currently Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford, the university put him on leave after the rape allegations first surfaced.
He was chosen by Tony Blair to work on a task force to help tackle extremism in the UK following the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005.
Prof Ramadan has also worked with the Foreign Office's Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, chaired by Tory Peer Baroness Warsi. He is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt, Hassan al-Banna.