PARIS – French President Francois Hollande said Saturday a Gypsy schoolgirl whose controversial deportation sparked mass student protests would be allowed to come back, but without her family.
Leonarda Dibrani’s eviction caused an outcry because she was detained during a school trip before being deported with her family to Kosovo, and students took to the streets demanding the 15-year-old return and Interior Minister Manuel Valls resign.
“If she makes a request, and if she wants to continue her studies, she will be given a welcome, but only she,” Hollande said in his first remarks on an affair that burst into the limelight Wednesday.
He cited the results of a formal probe published Saturday, which found that the deportation was lawful.
Dibrani immediately turned down Hollande’s offer, speaking from the town of Mitrovica in Kosovo, where she has been living with her family since their Oct. 9 deportation from the eastern French town of Levier.
Her father, Resat, 47, added that the family would not be divided and would return to France by any means.