A Michigan doctor has denied accusations that she performed female genital mutilation procedures on young girls.
Yet, according to documents acquired by the Detroit Free Press, the prosecutors of two Minnesota girls say Dr. Jumana Nagarwala inflicted rather severe injuries on the two girls, more than what the doctor is saying.
Nagarwala and two other medical staff members of the Livonia-based clinic were indicted on April 26 on genital mutilation charges in a U.S. District court.
Prosecutors for the girls say the trio has been performing the illegal procedure on young girls for years.
In this particular case, prosecutors contend, Nagarwala and her associates deleted evidence, tried to cover their tracks, and hushed others in their religious group when their secret activity was discovered.
Nagarwala admitted, through her attorney, that she did undertake a procedure on the genitalia of the two accusers, but that cutting was not involved. She claims she removed a membrane from their genitalia, and gave it to their parents, wrapped in gauze, so they could bury it as part of a religious ritual.
Yet a juvenile protection petition, which was made on behalf of the two Minnesota plaintiffs, stated another doctor found a small tear, scarring, healing lacerations, and what may be signs of a surgical removal of a part of female genitalia from the girls.
The World Health Organization considers the practice a violation of the human rights of girls and women. The WHO estimates more than 200 million girls and women living today have been cut in 30 countries located in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, with migrants from certain regions of these countries often continuing the practice.
In certain African and Middle Eastern countries, the practice is seen as a rite of passage, with some or all of the genitals cut off with knives or razors — often without anesthetics — that purifies the girl and prepares her for marriage, reports USA Today.
More than 90 percent of girls in countries such as Somalia, Egypt and Djibouti are made to go through the procedure, some as babies.
Nagarwala and a second medical professional, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, as well as his wife, Farida Attar, are charged with cutting the genitals of two 7-year-old girls on request by their mothers.
Prosecutors contend Nagarwala performed the mutilation during clinic after-hours, but never recorded it or was officially billed for the procedure. They also say the trio has carried out the procedure repeatedly on other girls since 2005, and that a tip and an electronic trail triggered their arrests.
The indictment made by a grand jury means the case will go to trial, as it is not the first time the defendants have been charged with criminal complaints.
Sources: Detroit Free Press, USA Today / Photo credit: Pixabay