More Charged In Female Genital Mutilation Case

More Charged In Female Genital Mutilation Case

Federal agents arrested a MI doctor and his wife Friday on charges they abetted a fellow doctor in mutilating the genitals of two young Minnesota girls.

Smith's defense of Nagarwala contradicted the government's position that the two 7-year-old Minnesota girls were forced to undergo a painful, bloody procedure at a MI clinic that left them with scars and lacerations on their genitals.

Fakhruddin Attar, 53, a physician, and Farida, 50, appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday afternoon and were ordered held, pending a full hearing Wednesday. Dr. Attar's wife, Farida Attar, was also arrested and has been accused of assisting Nagarwala with the mutilations. His wife's lawyer declined to comment. Nagarwala's attorney has said she performed a religious ritual, not genital mutilation.

An organisation representing the Dawoodi Bohra community in Detroit released a statement on Friday saying that "any violation of USA law is counter to instructions to our community members".

Investigators in MI have identified other children who may have also had the illegal procedure performed by Nagarwala between 2005 and 2007.

The Detroit Free Press reported from the hearing that Smith said her client removed membrane from the girls' genital area using a "scraper" as part of a religious practice. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 513,000 women and girls are at risk of FGM in the US.

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Several minor girls informed forensic personnel that Nagarwala had performed the procedure on their genitals while one minor girl said Farida had been present when Nagarwala did the deed. The others denied any knowledge of the practice, but according to wiretapped conversations between Nagarwala and Mrs. Attar, Nagarwala advised parents to deny knowing about FGM should they be asked by federal law enforcement authorities.

The U.K.'s National Health Service has warned that at least 8,000 women from across England have been identified as FGM victims, a crime which carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years in that country.

She said Nagarwala "pinched" her genitals and that she was given a pad to place in her underwear. She says Nargawala pinched her in her genital area and was told not to talk about the procedure.

Nagarwala, Fakhruddin and Farida are believed to be the first people charged under federal United States law, which criminalises FGM. She did this in a medical clinic because she "wanted it to be as sanitary and clean as possible", Woodward said.

FGM is an internationally recognized human rights violation, with all 193 members of the United Nations committed to eliminating the practice. Some of the girls allegedly traveled to the clinic, which is midway between Detroit and Ann Arbor, from out of state.

At a December summit on FGM in Washington, "a woman stood up and said, 'I'm white, I'm Christian, I'm from the Midwest, and this happened to me, ' " Quast said.

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