Raffarin slams police attempt to grabchild in custody battle

24th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

DRAGUIGNAN, France, Sept 24 (AFP) - Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Friday joined the widespread public condemnation of a police raid on a junior school in southern France aimed at seizing a four year-old girl for repatriation to the United States.

DRAGUIGNAN, France, Sept 24 (AFP) - Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Friday joined the widespread public condemnation of a police raid on a junior school in southern France aimed at seizing a four year-old girl for repatriation to the United States.  

Several police officers entered the school in the village of Adrets-de-l'Esterel on Thursday morning, but they were forced to leave without the girl -- named only as Charlotte -- after parents formed a protective barrier around her.  

"It was a commando operation. They climbed over the railings right in front of the children. It was unacceptably traumatic," said Delphine Micoud, president of a support committee for the girl.  

A court had issued a repatriation order in compliance with a judgment in the state of New York conferring custody of Charlotte on her American father. She was brought to France by her French mother last year.  

In a statement Raffarin said he was shocked by what had happened.   

"If decisions of justice must of course be carried out, the manner in which the police intervened -- in a school and in front of children -- seem unacceptable," he said.  

The girl's mother -- named as Sophie M. -- has been placed under judicial investigation for abduction. Both were in hiding Friday.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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