Woman becomes first to get jail-term for female genital mutilation of a three-year-old British girl

Woman becomes first to get jail-term for female genital mutilation of a three-year-old British girl

Feb 17, 2024 - 19:30
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Woman becomes first to get jail-term for female genital mutilation of a three-year-old British girl

In a first of its kind judgement 40-year-old Amina Noor of UK was sentenced to seven years in prison at the Old Bailey over her involvement in female genital mutilation (FGM) on a three-year-old British girl during a trip to Kenya.

Described by the judge as “abhorrent” and “horrific,” the offence committed by Noor involved the removal of the child’s entire clitoris, known as Type 1 FGM. The victim, now 21 years old, remains anonymous for legal protection. Her ordeal came to light when she confided in her English teacher at the age of 16, prompting police intervention.

Noor, of Somali descent, justified her actions during the trial by citing fears of social ostracization and condemnation from her community if she refused to participate in the ritualized cutting, which she deemed a cultural and religious practice.

She referred to the act as “sunnah,” meaning “prophetic tradition” in Arabic, echoing a misguided perception prevalent in certain cultural contexts.

For FGM survivor turned activist Hibo Wardere, the practice represents a form of child abuse with enduring physical and psychological consequences.

Having experienced FGM herself at the age of six, Wardere is now dedicated to supporting other victims through her work with the charity Educate, Not Mutilate.

Wardere was quoted in a report saying the long-lasting trauma inflicted by FGM, ranging from urinary difficulties to heightened risk of infection, complications during childbirth, and profound impacts on intimacy and reproductive health. She stresses the urgent need for greater awareness and intervention to eradicate this harmful practice.

Noor’s conviction is a landmark moment in the fight against FGM, as she becomes the first person to be found guilty of facilitating the procedure outside the UK. Moreover, her case represents only the second successful prosecution under the FGM Act in the UK, following a similar conviction in 2019.

Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy of the Metropolitan Police expresses hope that Noor’s conviction will encourage more victims to come forward and serve as a deterrent to those considering perpetrating FGM. Recognizing the sensitive nature of the subject, Furphy underscores the importance of building trust with affected communities to ensure the protection and support of victims.

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