An emergency room physician in Michigan is being charged with her role in the performance of female genital mutilation upon multiple girls around seven years old.
Law and Charges
The US Department of Justice stated that it thinks this is America’s first case under federal law that makes the practice illegal.
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States,” said Daniel Lemisch, U.S. attorney in Michigan’s East District in a recent statement. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”
Jumana Nagarwala, 44 years old, is also being charged with the “transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity” — referencing FGM — as well as making fake statements to federal officers.
The children had been told they were on a “‘special’ girls trip,” say court documents. The first of the victims said to federal agents how she underwent the procedure “to get the germs out”, as well as identifying Nagarwala when shown a photograph as being the doctor who conducted the operation.
A later medical exam made under a legal search warrant discovered that the girl’s “labia minora has been altered or removed, and her clitoral hood is also abnormal in appearance.”
The second of the victims who had described the ordeal in her complaint stated that she had screamed after Nagarwala issued her with a “shot” that she felt “hurt really badly.”
The girl also stated that she was unable to walk after going through the procedure, and her parents said “the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it.”
Nagarwala said to federal officers that she “never performed FGM on any minor children” as well as how “she was not involved in any FGM procedures,” state court documents.