Justice for Egyptian girls! Stop the medicalization of FGM
26 December 2016 Update: 5,000 Egyptian pounds (a little over 200 USD/EUR) and a one year suspended sentence! This was the “punishment” handed down by the Criminal Court in Al Suez to the dermatologist, anesthetist and mother implicated in the FGM death of 17-year-old Mayar Mohamed Mousa (the third health care professional who fled was sentenced to five years of imprisonment). Following the progress Egypt made during the summer to step up its efforts to address FGM, this 20 December 2016 decision is outrageous. What’s more, the lax sentence contradicts 28 August 2016 Parliamentary amendments to increase penalties for the crime.
TAKE ACTION! Equality Now and our Egyptian partners at the National Coalition for Children's Rights are outraged by the decision and are calling on the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions in Suez to appeal to the Cassation Court to reverse the decision.
Despite the FGM law amendments, medicalization of FGM in Egypt is still on the rise with an estimated 72% of the procedures being performed by doctors in private clinics (UNICEF). Without proper punishments for perpetrators, as in the case of Mayar, FGM will continue to increase.
In July 2013 Equality Now issued a campaign calling for enforcement of the 2008 anti-FGM law and justice in the case of 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea who died after Dr. Raslan Fadl allegedly performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on her at her father’s request in a clinic north-east of Cairo. Dr. Fadl was interrogated by prosecutors and released on bail pending investigation.
The long-delayed forensic report lists Soheir’s cause of death as an allergic reaction to penicillin and makes no mention of FGM, despite her father’s initial statement to the police that she had been brought to the clinic to be subjected to the procedure. We also understand that Dr. Fadl paid Soheir’s family 50,000 Egyptian Pounds ($7,257 USD) and they no longer want to pursue the case. Furthermore, Soheir’s father has changed his statement to match Dr. Fadl’s statement that Soheir suffered from genital warts and the family brought her to the doctor to treat them. Meanwhile, Dr Fadl continues to practice in his clinic and reportedly performs FGM procedures daily in clear violation of the 2008 law banning the practice.
Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) and the Egyptian Coalition for Children’s Rights (ECCR) in continuing to call on the government of Egypt to live up to its domestic and international obligations by:
- Effectively enforcing its FGM law by properly investigating and fully prosecuting violations and in particular ensuring that Soheir’s death is properly investigated including by arranging for medical experts to review the forensic report
- Ensuring that Dr. Fadl is promptly investigated and held accountable for continuing to violate the law and measures immediately taken to ensure he is no longer allowed to practice medicine and is prevented from performing FGM
- Supporting and enhancing community education to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and acknowledging FGM as a human rights violation with harmful consequences
- Ensuring that health care providers are given comprehensive education and training on the health and human rights implications of FGM and refrain from performing any form of the practice