French court imprisons group of Roma for forcing children to steal
A court in Paris sent a group of Roma from Romania to prison for up to eight years today after convicting them of forcing their children to steal mobile telephones and wallets on the streets of the French capital. The harsh punishments, including prison sentences and fines of EUR 30 000, included the traffickers who sold the stolen items on the black market.
The verdicts were very close to what state prosecutors sought, and Agence France-Presse reports that the sentencing kicked off disturbances in the courtroom among the relatives of those convicted. Some guests of the court were ushered out of the room after giving way to shouting and tears.
A total of three Moroccans and 20 Roma from Romania were on trial, charged with systematically exploiting their children to commit crime. The harshest punishments were given to those who used violence to force children between the ages of nine and 17 to perform such activity.
Each child was tasked with bringing the gang at least one or two wallets and two or three mobile telephones daily, with the perpetrators either using the money to play the slot machines or sending it to relatives in Romania to build or repair their homes there. Most of those sentenced today have also been banned from French territory for life.
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