Two men to be charged in first female genital mutilation prosecution

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital

The Crown Prosecution Service has announced on Friday, two men including a doctor in London hospital have become the first people to face charges in the Britain’s first prosecution for female genital mutilation.

Dr Dhanoun Dharmasena, 31, from Ilford, Essex, is alleged to have re-performed the mutilation procedure on a woman who had given birth to a child during November 2012 following damage caused by labour in Whittington Hospital, north London.

Another person, Hasan Mohamed, who is not a healthcare professional, is accused of intentionally encouraging and aiding the doctor to carry out the procedure.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders has said: “It was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital, in London, repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself.”

Both of the accused will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ court on 15 April.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a common traditional practice across Africa and in some communities in the Middle East and Asia.

Around 100 to 140 million girls and women world-wide are believed to have undergone FGM, ranging from removal of the clitoris to more widespread mutilation, and which may cause infection and long-term severe pain.

After increased calls on police and the government to act, during the previous month, ministers had taken a step to introduce a new requirement on British hospitals to maintain the record of patients subjected to FGM.

The latest Department of Health figures from 2007 have revealed that 66,000 women in England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM, and a further 23,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk every year – classed as torture by the UN.

It has been a criminal offence in the Britain since 1985, and was extended in 2003 as an offence for British nationals or permanent residents to conduct FGM abroad or seek FGM abroad, even where it is legal.

In 2003, the maximum sentence for the offense has been increased from five to 14 years of jail. However, no-one has ever been prosecuted in this regard.

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