Society

Roma Teenager Beaten And Left for Dead By French Vigilantes For Suspected Burglary

| by Lisa Fogarty

A 16-year-old Roma boy was left bleeding and unconscious in a supermarket shopping cart by his home in a northern suburb of Paris by French vigilantes who suspected him of burglary.

The boy, known only as Darius, was reportedly kidnapped from the Roma camp he shares with his family in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine by a group of people who then demanded his mother pay a €12,000 ransom – about $17,000 -- which was later reduced to €4,000, for his safe return, Daily Mail reports.

The mother did not pay the ransom and the boy was found abandoned in a shopping cart on the side of a highway. He was beaten so badly that doctors had to put him into a “chemically induced coma” because he was in so much pain.

The suspects are believed to be residents of a nearby housing project that the teen reportedly attempted to burglarize, according to the New York Times. Although he has condemned the attack, President Francoise Hollande is not calling this incident a “hate crime,” and it is instead being labeled as a revenge crime.

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So far, there have been no arrests in connection to this attack, though police are questioning several witnesses, The Telegraph notes.

Violence against the Roma community – most of who hail from Romania and Bulgaria and live in camps or housing projects at the edges of cities and town – is nothing new in Europe. The French government, particularly under former president Nicolas Sarkozy, has been criticized for its efforts to deport Roma. Prime Minister Manual Valls reportedly said last year that the Roma “could not integrate,” and Roma camps have been razed by authorities. But many residents in these makeshift homes – including those who lived in Darius’ camp – relocate and start over.

Numerous human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have protested that most Roma France are EU citizens who have every right to live and work in the country.

Hollande called the crime "an unspeakable and unjustifiable act on all the principles on which our republic was founded," the Daily News reports.

Sources: Daily Mail, New York Times, The Telegraph, Daily News

Photo Source: The Telegraph