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Bulgaria Roma Demand Back 11-Year-Old Mother

Date: 31.10.2009

The mother of the 11-year-old Roma girl, who gave birth last week, had been present at her wedding, Darik radio reports.

The mother previously misled the authorities telling them she was in Spain when her daughter gave birth in Bulgaria's southern city of Sliven, immediately after the wedding, probably over fears she could face legal charges.

On Tuesday, the Roma from the Sliven Nadezhda district staged a protest rally in front of the hospital where the young mother, Korteza, is listed with her newborn daughter, shouting demands for the two to be released under their care.

The Prosecutor in Sliven ordered a probe in the case against the father, 19-year-old Zhelyazko, oversexual intercourse with a minor. Zhelyazko, the girl's mother Rayna, and her mother-in-law have all been called for questioning.

In the meantime, Rayna signed a declaration she would take care of the mother and the baby while Roma explained their traditions call for the bride to be a virgin and how Korteza became pregnant immediately after her sexual contact with Zhelyazko.

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