French accuser says afraid to meet Strauss-Kahn

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A French writer who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape on Saturday said she was afraid to confront the former IMF chief and did not expect to sleep the night before a planned meeting.

French prosecutors on Friday said they would set up a face-to-face confrontation between Tristane Banon, 32, and the man she says locked her in a bare Paris flat in 2003 and assaulted her.

"Obviously I'm afraid. Obviously I'm not going to sleep the night before," said Banon, responding to journalists' questions about the prospective meeting.

On Saturday speaking at a rally organised by women's rights groups and attended by around 100 supporters, Banon said she hoped her allegations would ultimately be assessed in court.

"I am quite happy to see that justice is following its course," she said.

"I have no nothing to gain here. Neither a notoriety which I wouldn't wish on anyone, nor money," Banon said Saturday, adding that would give away any money awarded to her following a civil case that she has vowed to file.

"It's not fun being Tristane Banon at the moment," she said,

Banon first made her allegations public on television in 2007, but only brought them to magistrates after a chambermaid at an upscale New York hotel accused Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault.

The New York prosecutor's case collapsed last month after doubts emerged over the credibility of his accuser, Guinean immigrant Nafissatou Diallo, who is still seeking damages from civil court in New York.

Banon's complaint is for attempted rape rather than for sexual assault or harassment, and if the prosecutor decides to downgrade the charge Strauss-Kahn would be protected by the statute of limitations on the lesser crimes.

Banon accuses Strauss-Kahn of wrestling with her "like a rutting chimpanzee" after luring her into an unfurnished Paris flat on the pretext of offering her an interview for a book she was writing.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, has admitted making "an advance" on Banon, but denies any use of violence and has lodged a lawsuit for slander against Banon over her claim.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether pursue charges.

Banon told a television interviewer this week that she was keen to confront her alleged abuser in front of police.

"I want him in front of me so he can look into my eyes and say to my face that I imagined it," Banon said in the interview.

© 2011 AFP

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