The prominent Swiss academic and Islam scholar Tariq Ramadan has been acquitted of charges of rape and sexual coercion against a woman in a Geneva hotel in 2008.
Ramadan was awarded around 151,000 Swiss francs ($167,000) in compensation from the Swiss canton of Geneva over the case.
The lawyer for the complainant immediately announced that she would appeal. The woman, a Swiss convert to Islam, had told the court she was raped on 28 October 2008.
Ramadan, 60, who has advised successive British governments on Islam and society, had denied the charges. He told the court he wanted to fight against what he called the "lies and manipulation" in the case. He said he had "never sexually assaulted anyone".
During his final statements in court, Ramadan had asked not to be tried on his "real or supposed ideology" and urged the judges not to be "influenced by the media and political noise". He said: "Forget I'm Tariq Ramadan."
Ramadan was a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at the University of Oxford before taking a leave of absence in 2017 when rape allegations were made against him by French women, in what was seen as the biggest repercussion of the #MeToo movement in France. He has also denied those allegations, which could go to trial in Paris at a later date. He left Oxford in 2021 by mutual agreement on the basis of early retirement on grounds of ill-health. He told the court he has multiple sclerosis.
The Swiss complainant said she had faced threats and therefore wished to be known under the assumed name of "Brigitte" during the trial.
She told the court she had feared she would die during the alleged attack in a Geneva hotel. "I was beaten ... and raped," she said.
She said she had met Ramadan at a book signing in Geneva and later at a conference. They had corresponded via social media. A few months later they met for coffee at his hotel after a conference. Ramadan was acquitted of three counts of rape against Brigitte in his hotel room and one count of sexual coercion. He had been accused of subjecting her to brutal sexual acts as well as beatings and insults. The judges acquitted him of all charges.
"She told the truth," Robert Assael, one of Brigitte's lawyers, had told the court during the three-day hearing, adding: "Could such a story be invented with so many details?"
The Swiss woman had filed a police complaint in Geneva after French women spoke to the media about alleged rapes by Ramadan in hotels in France.
The French state prosecutor last year called for Ramadan to stand trial in France for the alleged rapes of four women between 2009 and 2016. It will fall to French investigating judges to rule whether those cases should go to trial.
Ramadan was arrested in France in 2018 and spent nine months in prison on remand over the French rape allegations before being released on probation and barred from leaving the country. He was given exceptional authorisation to attend the Geneva trial, which was heard by a panel of judges over three days.
In recent years, Ramadan had repeatedly said allegations of rape against him in France and Switzerland were a politically motivated plot and that he had been the victim of bias in the French justice system. The academic denied all allegations.