June 6, 2020 Faith Matters

Egyptian doctor accused of FGM surgery on three girls

A doctor and a father of three girls will be tried in an Egyptian criminal court over claims of female genital mutilation (FGM) surgery, a rights lawyer said.

Reda el-Danbouki, executive director of the Women’s Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness in Cairo, said the procedures took place last week in the district of Juhaynah in Sohag province, 244 miles south of the capital Cairo.

He said the father took his three daughters – ages eight, nine and 11 – to the doctor after telling them they would be vaccinated against coronavirus.

Instead, the girls awoke from anaesthesia to find that their genitals had been removed.

The girls told their mother, who is divorced from the girls’ father, and she reported the incident to police. Police then arrested the father and the doctor, Mr el-Danbouki said.

The public prosecutor’s office in a statement last week accused the father and the doctor of carrying out the mutilations after a forensic analysis confirmed the practice had taken place.

Mr el-Danbouki said the doctor could face up to seven years in prison, while the father faces up to eight years.

Since the mid-1990s, Egypt has been battling the centuries-old practice of FGM, also known as female circumcision, which is misguidedly believed to control women’s sexuality.

In 2008, a law banning the removal of female genitalia was passed in Egypt’s parliament, despite strong opposition from conservative voices.

A 2015 government survey found that 87% of Egyptian women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been circumcised.

In 2016, Egyptian politicians adopted amendments to the law, elevating the charge against suspects from a misdemeanour — in which offenders typically received up to two years in prison — to a felony, which draws tougher sentences and punishments.

Despite the changes, reports of girls bleeding to death following the procedure have made headlines in the Arab World’s most populous country.

In January, a 12-year-old girl died in the southern province of Assiut after her parents brought her to a doctor who performed the procedure on her.