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June 26, 2022



Some charges dropped against Romani couple in Greece who cared for Romani child from Bulgaria

12.11.2015 20:08
Christos Salis (right) and his wife, Eleftheria Dimopoulou (left) with Maria in 2013. (PHOTO:  The Telegraph)
Christos Salis (right) and his wife, Eleftheria Dimopoulou (left) with Maria in 2013. (PHOTO: The Telegraph)

The Greek wire service Athens News Agency (ANA) reports that a Greek court has dropped charges of abduction against the Romani couple who were discovered in 2013 to be caring for a blonde Romani girl named Maria. Christos Salis and his wife, Eleftheria Dimopoulou, are still being prosecuted for deceiving the authorities by asserting she was their daughter.

According to the court in the town of Larisa, there is not enough evidence to prosecute the couple for abduction. Maria was found living in central Greece with the Romani couple and the authorities began to suspect she was not their biological child because of her blonde hair and light complexion.

DNA tests ultimately demonstrated that the couple had been posing as her parents. Later, to the surprise of the authorities and the media, it was ascertained that Maria's mother is a Romani woman from Bulgaria.

Maria was left in Greece at the age of seven months in 2009 by her parents because they could not afford to care for her. The Greek Romani couple raised the child for four years before being taken into custody on abduction charges.

Before the case was fully explained, hysteria over blond children in Romani families began to break out elsewhere in Europe - for example, in Ireland children were wrongfully removed from their Romani parents on suspicion of not being their biological offspring. Recently the family of a blond Romani boy there who was removed from his parents have been compensated EUR 60 000 for the incident.

In another case of overreach, police in Dublin removed a seven-year-old blonde girl from another Romani couple because they allegedly were not certain she was actually their daughter. In that case as well DNA tests demonstrated she was in fact their children and the authorities returned the girl to her family. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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