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Woman faces child-selling charges

SOFIA, Bulgaria — A Roma woman in Bulgaria has undergone DNA testing and faces preliminary charges of child selling as authorities investigate whether she is the mother of a young girl found living with an unrelated couple in Greece, authorities said Thursday.

Though the tests have yet to prove Sasha Ruseva, 35, is the biological mother of the girl known as Maria, the woman’s admission that she once left a baby behind in Greece opened her up to a formal investigation.

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Ruseva acknowledged to Bulgarian TV that she had been questioned about the girl, believed to be 5 or 6 years old and found during a raid for drugs and weapons in a Roma camp in central Greece last week. The child’s case gained global notice and has drawn what human rights advocates say is unfair accusations in general against the Roma community, which has long faced racism and poverty.

Ruseva said she wanted the child back if tests prove she is the girl’s mother. But she denied taking any money for giving up her baby to another Roma, or Gypsy, family, years ago.

The preliminary charges filed against her allow authorities to start an investigation into whether money exchanged hands.

Greek authorities have taken custody of Maria.

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