France: Valls under attack over Roma teen deportation

Kosovar schoolgirl detained while on school trip

16 October, 16:00

    FRench interior Manuel Valls under fire for Roma girl expulsion FRench interior Manuel Valls under fire for Roma girl expulsion

    (ANSAmed) - PARIS, OCTOBER 16 - Following a public outcry, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has ordered an investigation into the controversial October 9 expulsion of a Kosovo schoolgirl that has put him at odds with his fellow Socialists.

    The teenager, a Kosovar of Roma origin identified as 15-year-old Leonarda, was arrested during a school trip in the Doubs region in eastern France, sparking outrage among the students.

    Authorities put her on a plane to Kosovo along with her parents and her five siblings on the very same day.

    Online Mediapart journal reported the incident, which was denounced by activists from the Education Without Borders Network.

    Socialists said they were ''shocked'' by the treatment the schoolgirl was subjected to.

    ''We must shed light before commenting. There are diverging accounts of what actually happened'', said President Francois Hollande's spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

    ''No one must doubt for a single moment that the rule of law is being applied with intelligence, discernment and humanity'', Valls responded to critics.

    Socialist Party Secretary General Harlem Desir has called for Leonarda to be allowed to ''come back to school''. Extreme-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon has called for Valls to resign, saying he ''is not worthy of the Republic''. Centrist leader Jean-Louis Borloo (Union of Independent Democrats - UDI) was the sole voice in favor of the expulsion.

    ''It was all legal and the police did their job'', Borloo told BFM TV. (ANSAmed).

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