The parents of a Roma schoolgirl, whose deportation from France sparked outrage, have been attacked in Kosovo.
Police said the parents of Leonarda Dibrani were beaten by unknown assailants in Mitrovica. Her mother was treated in hospital for her injuries. The 15-year-old, her parents and five siblings were expelled on 9 October, after they lost their asylum battle. An inquiry is under way in France as to why Leonarda was forcibly removed from her school bus in view of other pupils. The Associated Press reported that Leonarda’s parents were accosted by another Roma couple, and that both couples were being questioned by police. The attack comes a day after French President Francois Hollande offered Leonarda the opportunity to return to France – on her own. She rejected his offer. The Dibrani family left Kosovo for France five years ago and were living in Levier, in the Doubs region of eastern France. They cited discrimination in Kosovo as grounds for asylum. An order for their expulsion was issued after they lost their case. After two postponements, their deportation was rescheduled for this month. On 9 October, the family was put on a plane to Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. Since then, they have been living in the divided city of Mitrovica. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has insisted that the deportation of Leonarda and the rest of her family had been carried out in line with established procedure. Last month he declared Roma people incompatible with the French way of life. Critics accuse President Hollande’s administration of following the hard line on the Roma taken by his conservative predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. Amnesty International recently reported that more than 10,000 Roma had been evicted from temporary camps in France in the first half of the year. Some 20,000 Roma have settled in France, coming mainly from Romania, Bulgaria and parts of the former Yugoslavia like Kosovo.