UK & World News

  • 17 June 2014, 15:06

Roma Teen In Coma After Vigilante Beating

A 16-year-old boy from a Roma community is fighting for his life after being beaten by a mob in Paris who accused him of burglary.

The youngster was found unconscious in a supermarket trolley on Friday on a state-owned housing estate to the north of the French capital.

The teenager, who lived in a camp that had sprung up nearby, was accused of breaking into a flat on the estate.

A police source told the AFP news agency that he was seized by a group of around 12 residents, dragged into a basement and then assaulted repeatedly.

French President Francois Hollande condemned the attack on Monday, describing it as an "unspeakable and unjustifiable" act.

He said that everything possible should "be done to find those responsible for this attack".

Prime Minister Manuel Valls also joined Mr Hollande in speaking out about the assault.

The boy, who has not been named, is said to be in a critical condition in hospital and has yet to emerge from a coma.

He is understood to have been found after his mother alerted police that her son had been kidnapped.

The mayor of Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, the town where the attack took place, said the youngster had been questioned by police several times in June in connection with a string of robberies.

Michel Fourcade said this had fuelled anger towards the Roma, who have caused controversy in France by building illegal camps.

The group the boy's family was attached to have fled the area, according to people living nearby.

There has been concern about a rise in violence against the Roma, which has come against a backdrop of increasingly nationalistic sentiment in the country.

The far-right National Front, whose former leader Jean Marie Le Pen has been fined for racist comments about the community, won the largest share of the vote in last month's European elections.

France has also faced mounting criticism over its treatment of the Roma. The issue shot to prominence when a 15-year-old Roma girl was deported along with her family to Kosovo.