Greek Roma couple to seek release after Maria birth parents found: Lawyer

Greek Roma couple to seek release after Maria birth parents found: Lawyer

ATHENS - A Greek Roma couple held for allegedly snatching a young blond girl known as Maria, will seek release from prison after the child's biological parents were found in Bulgaria, their lawyer said on Saturday.

"My clients will appeal against their detention," lawyer Marietta Palavra told AFP.

"They also want the child back as they are the ones who have raised her and they love her," she added.

Fair-skinned Maria was found living with a Greek Roma couple in a camp near the central town of Farsala on October 16, sparking global news interest and hundreds of enquiries from parents of missing children.

DNA tests showed that 39-year-old Christos Salis and 40-year-old Eleftheria Dimopoulou who were raising the girl with green eyes were not her real parents.

They were arrested and placed in prison this week pending trial.

Instead, DNA tests on Friday confirmed that Maria's biological parents are Sasha and Atanas Rusev, a Bulgarian Roma couple living in dire poverty in the town of Nikolaevo in central Bulgaria.

Sasha Ruseva, 35, told police that she had given birth to a baby girl while working in Greece several years ago and left her there when she was seven months old.

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