Father of Roma girl admits to lying


The father of a 15-year-old Roma girl whose detention during a school trip and deportation sparked an uproar in France, admitted Thursday he had lied to French authorities about his family’s Kosovo origin in a bid to obtain asylum.

Reshat Dibrani, 47, said he was the only member of his family originating from the former Serbian province, which proclaimed independence from Belgrade in February 2008.

He said he had left Kosovo at the age of 9, when he and his family moved to Italy before relocating to France in 2008.

His wife, Xhemaili, was born in Italy as well as five of their six children, including Leonarda, the girl detained during a school trip and deported to Kosovo earlier this month.

The youngest Dibrani family member, 17-month-old Medina, is the only child born in France, the father said.

Asked if he had claimed to French authorities that the entire family was from Kosovo, Dibrani said: “Yes, in order to have better chances to obtain the asylum” in France.