Egypt FGM trial ‘convicts Raslan Fadl of manslaughter’

Egypt FGM trial ‘convicts Raslan Fadl of manslaughter’

BBC News World

26 January 2015


An Egyptian doctor has been convicted in a landmark appeal of carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM), a lawyer and campaign group say.

Raslan Fadl was fined, and jailed for two years with labour, for manslaughter with a further three months for FGM. His clinic was also closed for a year.

The doctor had denied carrying out FGM on 13-year-old Suhair al-Bataa.

A spokeswoman for the international activist group Equality Now called the decision a “monumental victory”.

Suhair al-Bataa, who lived in small farming community on the outskirts of the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, died in 2013.

Prosecutors had argued that she died after being forced to undergo FGM by her father, who also faced trial and was given a suspended sentence on Monday.

In an initial trial both Fadl and the father had been cleared.

‘First step?’

The practice of FGM was banned in Egypt in 2008 but is still widespread – the country has one of the highest rates of prevalence in the world.

More than 90% of Egyptian women aged under 50 have undergone the procedure, according to government statistics.

Typically it is carried out on girls aged between nine and 13 but there are victims as young as six, anti-FGM campaigners say.

The case against Fadl was the first time a prosecution relating to FGM had been brought to trial.

Suad Abu-Dayyeh, a spokeswoman for Equality Now, called Monday’s sentencing “a monumental victory for women and girls in Egypt”.

“The country has shown that it will implement its laws and we hope that this is the first step towards ending this extreme form of violence against women once and for all,” she said.

The number of Egyptian girls who died following FGM is unclear, as deaths are commonly recorded as haemorrhages or allergic reactions to penicillin.

Fadl claimed that Suhair al-Bataa’s death had been caused by a penicillin allergy.

Featured image: Suhair al-Bataa died after undergoing surgery in 2013. Copyright: Al-Masry Al-Youm

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