Maid's lawyer to speak at Cambridge Strauss-Kahn protest
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Dominique Strauss-Kahn. AP photoStudents at Britain's Cambridge University angry that disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been asked to address students have invited his accuser's lawyer to speak on the same day.
Strauss-Kahn, who quit as head of the International Monetary Fund in May amid claims he sexually assaulted New York hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo, is scheduled to speak at the Cambridge Union debating society on Friday.
But protesters have invited Diallo's attorney Douglas Wigdor to speak at the prestigious university's law faculty before a protest against the French politician outside the venue for his speech.
Wigdor "will discuss Ms Diallo's case as well as how legal systems can systemically disadvantage both women and immigrants," the student union's Women's Campaign said in a statement.
US prosecutors dropped criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn in August, but Diallo has continued to seek monetary damages in New York's civil court.
The first hearing in the civil case will be held on March 28. On the same day, Strauss-Kahn is due to be charged in France over a prostitution ring, including charges of complicity in pimping, according to a judiciary source.
A petition urging the Cambridge Union to withdraw the invitation to Strauss-Kahn has attracted more than 700 signatures.
"This is an opportunity for students and people in the local community alike to make a public, vocal stand against Strauss-Kahn being welcomed into our city," said Ruth Graham, the student union's women's officer.
"By protesting we show that the women who come forward and report rape and sexual assault are listened to." The debating society has defended inviting DSK, as he is known in France, to give a speech on the global economy, saying it had been regularly asking him to come and speak on the topic since 2010.
"The reason he's been invited is because he's a fascinating figure and has exceptional knowledge in this field," its president Katie Lam told AFP.
Strauss-Kahn, 62, has also been accused by 32-year-old French writer Tristane Banon of attempting to rape her in 2003.
Prosecutors decided there was prima facie evidence of a sexual assault, but ruled that the statute of limitations had passed.