France: Young Roma man in coma after brutal lynching, President is outraged
A Roma youth has been fighting for his life after being brutally lynched on Friday in a northern suburb of Paris. French President François Hollande has condemned the attack.
The boy was beaten unconscious by a group of unidentified assailants and the President called the incident a repulsive, unjustifiable crime for which the perpetrators must be punished. The victim has been permanently in a coma since Friday.
"Such crimes are despicable and unjustifiable. They violate all of the principles on which our republic is based. It is essential to do everything we can to find the perpetrators," local media quoted the head of state as saying.
The 16-year-old Roma boy from Romania was found on Friday evening unconscious and stuffed into a shopping cart near a hypermarket in Seine-Saint-Denis north of the capital. According to the website of Le Monde, he suffered numerous serious injuries, including a fractured skull, and his life is still in danger.
French television station LCI quoted police as saying that according to their initial findings, the youth was beaten by a mob of about 12 people who blamed him for robbing a local apartment. The mob got hold of the youth in the place where he was living with his family and about 200 other Roma people.
They forcibly dragged him down into a cellar and shut him inside it, where they beat him unconscious. The mother of the victim called police to say her son had been kidnapped.
"The police are fully mobilized to rapidly solve this case, arrest the perpetrators, and deliver them to justice," French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said today. In his statement the minister also emphasized that only security forces are authorized to maintain public order.
The Socialist mayor of the suburb, Michel Fourcade, said the youth had been detained since the start of June in connection with cases of theft and vandalism. A source from the Justice Ministry confirmed that information to Agence France-Presse.
Many Roma immigrants, primarily from Bulgaria and Romania, have arrived in France in recent years. French authorities have begun proceeding uncompromisingly against those who do not meet the administrative and other legal conditions for residing in the country.
Thousands of Roma immigrants have already been deported back to their home countries. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said several years ago in his role as Interior Minister that most Roma do not make any effort to become well-integrated in France, but today he sharply condemned the attack on the youth.
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