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Moroccan illegal immigrant returns to France following Sarkozy's amnesty

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-03-14

Moroccan high school student Najlae Lhimer, deported from France in February, is expected back in the country on Saturday after French President Nicolas Sarkozy granted her the right to return.

Najlae Lhimer, a Moroccan high school student who was deported in February for residing in France illegally, headed back to Paris on Saturday after French President Nicolas Sarkozy personally intervened in her case.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, Sarkozy declared he was “ready to welcome her in France if that’s what she wants.”

According to local support groups, Lhimer was detained when she went to a police station in central France on Feb. 20 to file a complaint against her brother for abuse.

She was immediately deported from France because she had overstayed her visa, which expired in November 2009.

The young woman says that she came to France in 2005 to escape a forced marriage in her native country.

Her deportation aroused the ire of various human rights groups, who demanded her immediate return to France.

Lhimer said prior to her departure that she was “thrilled to return to Paris. It’s a dream come true, it’s unbelievable.”

A welcoming ceremony in her honour is to take place upon her arrival at Orly-Sud airport.
 

Date created : 2010-03-13

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