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German expulsions of Roma have long been kept secret

Berlin/Prishtina, 24.9.2010 22:54, (ROMEA)

Unlike the French expulsions of Roma currently taking place, Germany has been regularly expelling small groups of Roma for some time now. The most recent group arrived by plane on Wednesday in the Kosovan capital of Prishtina. Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that like the previous deportations, this one has been shrouded in secrecy.

A plane chartered from the Frankfurt-based Eurokoha Company, which specializes in flights to Kosovo, transported about 10 deported Roma from Stuttgart. As they exited the airport they were screened in every way possible; some were then picked up by relatives and set off with them for homes in the countryside. Four Roma with no relatives were transported by official car to the nearby Hotel Aviano. When journalists asked after them there, hotel owner Nexhmedin Arbeni claimed they had all already left.

A husband and wife who did not want to give their names were waiting for their son at the airport. "They have deported the only breadwinner in our 20-member family,” the father complained. He has nine other children at home and his son regularly sends him money from Germany so they can survive. Halim Balaj, a 50-year-old man from Uroshevac, was waiting together with his 14-year-old daughter Dorina for his son Durim. "They arraigned me and sent me away,” Durim says when he arrives, “but overall the Germans behaved correctly toward me.”

Bashkim Zeka from the village of Raushiq near Pec in Western Kosovo is angry. "I didn’t have a residence permit, but no one ever warned me I would be deported to Kosovo,” he says. "The police rang my doorbell at 3 AM, gave me two hours to pack, and drove me to the Stuttgart airport. For me this is just horrible!" When asked where he had originally come from, the 40-year-old Roma man answered, “A seething hell.”

For their part, representatives of the Eurokoha Company in Frankfurt are very reserved and unwilling to reveal any information on how many Roma were on the plane or how many similar flights have been made recently. In Prishtina itself, four Roma were reportedly trying to acquire documents for travel to Western Europe on Thursday. Police arrested three Roma in front of the Croatian Embassy in the capital who had attempted to acquire visas using false documents for which they had each paid an Albanian man EUR 1 000.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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