The controversial deportation of teenager Leonarda Dibrani from France to Kosovo has been defended by President Francois Hollande.
But he added that the 15-year-old Roma girl can return to France alone without her family – an offer she has already rejected.
The president’s intervention comes after the publication of a government report into the affair.
It found that the measures taken in expelling the girl and her family were legal but criticised the police for detaining her as she left school.
“No mistake was therefore made and from this point of view the law was perfectly respected, but there was a lack of judgement in the way the operation was carried out,” Hollande said.
Although the teenager’s arrest and expulsion brought protests against France’s immigration policies – a new opinion poll suggests a majority of French people support the measures taken.
Now back in Kosovo, Leonarda Dibrani complained at the way she was treated by the police.
“It’s not their job to pull a 15-year old girl out of the bus by the hand in front of all my classmates. I am ashamed because everyone looked at me strangely. But, I still thank France from my heart. Yet one way or another I will go back to France, for sure.”
There is some confusion surrounding the family’s status and nationality.
The French newspaper Le Monde has quoted Leonarda Dibrani’s father as saying the mother and all the children were born in Italy, but left because they thought it would be easier to be granted asylum in France.