Roma pair held for Maria’s ‘abduction’ seek release from jail

A Roma couple who have been in detention on abduction charges since a young blond girl called Maria was removed from their home in a camp in central Greece last week appealed on Tuesday for their release after DNA tests showed that the girl’s biological parents are Bulgarian Roma, as the pair had told police.

The Greek couple have reportedly asked to adopt Maria legally while the biological parents have also said they want their child back. Both sets of parents insist that Maria was not sold. But authorities in both Greece and Bulgaria are investigating their possible involvement in trafficking or illegal adoption rackets.

Bulgaria’s child protection agency said on Tuesday that it would seek Maria’s return even as Greece insists that its public prosecutor for minors will decide on the girl’s fate.

In a similar case, a Roma couple on Lesvos who DNA tests showed are not the real parents of a Roma infant whose birth they had tried to register on the island were given conditional release on abduction charges over the weekend.

Meanwhile a couple from Zefyri, northern Athens, accused of paying 4,000 euros to buy a Roma infant from its biological mother last February are to appear before an investigating magistrate on Wednesday on charges of abducting and trafficking a child.