21/10/13 11:25 CET
| updated xx mn ago
| updated at xx
A Roma couple are appearing in court in Greece accused of abducting a young blonde girl known as Maria.
The pair, aged 40 and 39, are also expected to be charged with falsifying documents.
The charity caring for the girl in Athens, Smile of the Child, said it had received 8,000 calls from around the world since issuing a call for help in identifying her.
The couple, who were found not to be the child’s biological parents, have been held at the police headquarters in Larissa, the region of central Greece where the girl, 4, was found.
The couple’s lawyer denies they were involved in trafficking, saying they were given the child by her real mother, who couldn’t look after her.
“Our clients’ claim is that ‘we never abducted this child we just adopted her’, in a way that was not legal. That we can confess,” Kostas Katsavos said.
Police said the couple gave several conflicting accounts of how the girl ended up living with them at the Roma settlement in Farsala.
They added that she seemed to speak only a few words in the Roma dialect.
Relatives of the couple have insisted she had been with them since she was a baby and was properly cared for.
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