Egypt's prosecutor-general refers doctor, parents to criminal court after girl dies from FGM

Menna Alaa El-Din , Saturday 22 Feb 2020

Female genital mutilation has been criminalised in Egypt since 2008. A 2016 amendment mandates sentences of between five and seven years in prison for those convicted

FGM in Egypt
A counsellor holds up cards used to educate women about female genital mutilation (FGM) in Minya, Egypt, June 13, 2006. (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's top prosecutor referred a doctor and the parents of a 12-year-old girl to a criminal court over an illegal female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure which subsequently killed her last month due to complications.

According to a statement by the prosecution on Saturday, Prosecutor-General Hamada El-Sawy referred retired doctor, Ali Abdel-Fadil, and the girl's parents to an Assiut criminal court over the criminalised procedure.

Nada Hassan Abdel-Maqsoud died last month in the Upper Egyptian governorate at Abdel-Fadil's private clinic, which had its licence expired in 2016.

According to the prosecution's investigation, the parents agreed on circumcising their daughter according to "customs and traditions" on 29 January, agreeing with Abdel-Fadil to perform the procedure.

The girl went into a coma following the half-hour procedure. Resuscitation attempts failed and she passed away.

The doctor denied performing the procedure, claiming the operation concerned an external tumour in her reproductive system.

He said her death was the result of suffocation due to an allergy from long-term Penicillin and Cefotaxime.

His claims were shortly dismissed by Egypt's Forensics Authority after the prosecution ordered an autopsy, which confirmed the FGM procedure was conducted and dismissed traces of the two medicines in the girl's body.

The girl's death came after severe hypotension caused by a nervous shock and excruciating pain from the operation.

FGM has been criminalised in Egypt since 2008. A 2016 amendment mandates sentences of between five and seven years in prison for those involved in a procedure if it results in the death or disability of the victim.

The first conviction for performing FGM in Egypt was in January 2015, seven years after the practice was first criminalised in 2008.

According to the 2014 Egyptian Demographic Health Survey, 92.3 percent of ever-married women aged 15-49 have undergone FGM.

Four-fifths of such operations are carried out by medical professionals, according to the survey.

According to the health ministry in 2018, the rate of FGM among teenage girls aged from 15 to 17 fell from 74 percent in 2008 to 61 percent in 2014.

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