Probe finds controversial deportation from France was lawful

Probe into high-profile deportation of a Roma schoolgirl that landed France`s interior minister in hot water found on Saturday expulsion was lawful, but added police could have used better judgement.

Paris: A probe into the high-profile deportation of a Roma schoolgirl that has landed France`s interior minister in hot water found on Saturday the expulsion was lawful, but added police could have used better judgement.
The way in which Leonarda Dibrani was evicted earlier this month caused a huge outcry in France, sending droves of angry high school students to the streets nationwide and placing interior minister Manuel Valls in the midst of a hailstorm of criticism.

"The decision to implement the deportation of the Dibrani family (which included 15-year-old Leonarda) was consistent with current regulations," said results of the investigation, which was ordered by Valls on Wednesday.

The probe result is a boost for Valls, who had faced calls to resign over the incident, but all eyes are now on French President Francois Hollande, who was due to imminently speak on the issue live on television.

Dibrani -- who had lived in France for four years while her family`s asylum bid was processed -- was deported on October 9 from the eastern French town of Levier but her case only came to light Wednesday after it was highlighted by an NGO.

Much of the anger surrounding the French-speaking teenager`s deportation has focused on how she was forced to get off a bus full of classmates in the midst of a school outing before she was deported with the rest of her family to Kosovo.

Police had gone to the family home in the morning to deport all members, but found the teenager had slept at a friend`s house to go on the outing.

French law bans any intervention on youngsters while they are at or near school, and the report found that police did not realise "what was at stake with interrupting this outing".

It added that while the bus was nowhere near Dibrani`s school, authorities "did not demonstrate the necessary discernment" and recommended that the law be changed to prohibit any intervention during school hours.

A survey by polling firm BVA published today in the Le Parisien daily showed that 74 per cent of the French approve Valls` position in the case.

While a majority of people in the survey -- which polled a representative sample of 1,090 people aged 18 and above -- say they were shocked by Leonarda`s detention, 65 per cent were against the schoolgirl and her family returning to France.

Students taking part in protests in Paris and other cities on Thursday and Friday, however, have demanded that Dibrani and another deported pupil Khatchik Kachatryan be allowed to return to France to continue their studies.

Dibrani herself has given multiple media interviews from Kosovo, where she is now living with her family, to plead with the government to let her go back.

But the case has been further complicated by revelations that Dibrani`s father Resat had lied about his family`s Kosovo origins to have a better chance to obtain asylum.

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