Oxford University Professor Tariq Ramadan was today due to be questioned in court about two rape charges for the first time since he admitted having sex with his accusers.
In the latest stage of a marathon legal process, the 57-year-old father-of-four will be grilled by Paris judges about claims that he attacked two women.
He originally denied sleeping with feminist activist Henda Ayari, 43, and a 42-year-old handicapped woman identified solely by the alias Christelle.
But his story changed following his last meeting with judges when he was being held on remand at Fleury-Mérogis – the largest prison in Europe – south of Paris in October 2018.
He now says that he had consensual sex that he wanted to keep private, and that his accusers have been manipulated by ideological enemies who accuse him of being a radical Islamist.
Professor Ramadan, who has multiple sclerosis, was released after nine months in detention without trial in November 2018.
He has been living in the suburbs of Paris since, after surrendering his Swiss passport and paying bail equivalent to £250,000.
The academic, who has taken leave of absence from his job as Professor of Islamic Studies at St Antony's College, Oxford, has regularly requested permission to return to his north London home, but this has been refused.
'Forbidden to travel, forbidden to work, forbidden to see my doctors,' Professor Ramadan complained on his online blog this week, adding: 'Forbidden to see my children and my grandchildren.'
Ms Ayari, who has waived her right to anonymity, alleges she was raped in a Paris hotel room in 2012, while Chriselle said the same thing happened to her in Lyon, eastern France, in 2009.
Both went public when women began sharing accounts of sexual attacks as part of the #MeToo campaign started by allegations against Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Professor Ramadan denies any wrongdoing, while his lawyers point to his accusers making 272 phone calls to a prominent anti-Ramadan campaigner before his arrest.
She is Caroline Fourest, a French activist who wrote a highly critical book called 'Brother Tariq' which examines his close links to the Muslim Brotherhood – the Islamist organisation founded in Egypt.
Ms Fourest, a fierce opponent of Islam, has convictions for libelling other prominent public figures, and in 2014 was found guilty of fabricating claims that a 14-year-old Muslim girl made up a racist attack.
Allegations that a third woman was raped nine times by Professor Ramadan between 2013 and 14 have been dropped, and there are three potential new victims being spoken to.
One – identified only as Elvira – is considered an unreliable witness by the judicial police, while two others were identified by details found on Ramadan's confiscated computer.
Professor Ramadan has launched counter legal complaints against those accusing them, while also calling into question the impartiality of the three magistrates dealing with his case.
Thursday's in camera audition is expected to last a day and will allow magistrates to consider whether Professor Ramadan's case should go to trial.