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Greek cops arrest 3 over 'abducted' baby

24 October 2013, 10:33

Athens - Three Greek Gypsies were arrested on the island of Lesvos on Wednesday on suspicion of child abduction, days after a similar case involving a girl known as "Maria" prompted an international investigation.

Police on the Aegean Sea island said the suspects allegedly tried to register the 21/2-month-old boy as their own, but raised suspicions because they lacked sufficient documentation.

Regional police chief Panagiotis Kordonouris told The Associated Press the 19-year-old woman, her 21-year-old male companion and his 51-year-old mother were arrested a Roma settlement outside the island capital of Mytilini.

Kordonouris told the AP they claimed an unknown Roma woman gave them the baby in Athens.

"They told us they didn't give her any money, and that they met by accident. She told her that she had five children; they said that they are unable to have their own and asked if she could give her one," Kordonouris said.

Last week, a Roma couple in the mainland town of Farsala was charged with abducting the girl known as "Maria" found living with them.

The girl's discovery triggered an international investigation for a possible match with children declared missing as well an investigation in Greece to check for birth certificate fraud committed in the past six years.

The couple, aged 39 and 40, told police and prosecutors they had received the blond girl from a destitute Bulgarian woman and had brought her up with their own five children.

They have been charged with abduction and document fraud, and have been jailed awaiting trial.

The international police agency Interpol said it has not matched any cases to the DNA of the girl, who has been placed in temporary care with a Greek charity called "Smile of the Child".

"The child is not on any list of missing children, so we believe this clearly demonstrates that this is not a case of kidnapping ... All the evidence that is emerging is providing confirmation of what my clients have been saying from the very first moment," the couple's lawyer Marietta Palavra told private Skai television.

- AP


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