A father has been found not guilty of organising for his nine-year-old daughter to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) to punish her, BBC reports. The 50-year-old man, of south London, had been accused of twice arranging for someone to cut the girl with a razor as she lay on a mat in the hallway. He was also acquitted of five other charges at the Old Bailey, including child cruelty and wounding with intent.
During an interview in July last year, the daughter, now 16, said she had been subjected to the practice twice between 2010 and 2013. On each occasion she claims was made to lie on a mat in the hallway of her home, naked from the waist down, jurors were told. They heard that she could not identify the cutter but says she recalled her father “egging the person on”.
The case is only the third FGM prosecution brought to court in Britain, both of which led to acquittals. The maximum sentence is 14 years in prison. Not only is it illegal in the UK, it is also illegal to take a female abroad for FGM.
Medical staff working in England’s National Health Service recorded close to 5,500 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2016, but no one has been successfully prosecuted since the practice was banned over 30 years ago.
What is Female Genital Mutilation?
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but where there’s no medical reason for this to be done.
It’s also known as “female circumcision” or “cutting”, and by other terms such as sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others.
FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. It is illegal in the UK and is child abuse.