Saturday, January 24, 2009

Denmark Court Convicts Mother in Genital Mutilation of Daughters

A Danish citizen who was originally from Eritrea has been convicted for the genital mutilation of two of her daughters. This abuse was discovered after a child care worker overheard her discussing plans to travel to Sudan to have her younger daughter also "done". Denmark passed a law against genital mutilation in 2003 and this is their first case. The husband of the family first came to Denmark as a political refugee in 1991.

Female Genital Mutilation has become a human rights problem in Western countries due to immigration:
As a result of immigration, the practice has also spread to Europe, Australia and the United States. Some tradition-minded families have their daughters undergo FGM whilst on vacation in their home countries. As Western governments become more aware of FGM, legislation has come into effect in many countries to make the practice of FGM a criminal offense. In 2006, Khalid Adem became the first man in the United States to be prosecuted for mutilating his daughter.

The BBC is carrying the story, but the most complete news article is on Politiken.DK
Genital mutilation sentence - 2 years
A mother of four has been sentenced to two years for allowing the genital mutilation of her daughters.

Female genital mutilation is rampant in certain parts of Africa where even very young girls are forced into the medically dangerous procedure.

Denmark's first case involving parents allowing the genital mutilation of their daughters resulted today in a two-year sentence for the mother.

The major part of the sentence - 1 year and six months - was conditional, while six months was unconditional. The Eritrean woman will not however have to serve a sentence in prison as she has already been in detention for four-and-a-half months.

Father freed
While the mother was sentenced, the father of the girls was found not guilty. The mother's defence attorney said it had not yet been decided whether the mother would appeal her sentence as a matter of principle.

"The important thing is that my client does not have to go to prison again. Two years sounds a lot, but we will now have to think about whether to appeal," says Attorney Jane Ranum.

Third daughter
Apart from the two daughters - now 10 and 12 years old - who had been genitally mutilated, the parents were also charged with planning to have a third daughter mutilated. Both were, however, found not guilty as charged with this latter offence.

Both parents said they had not known that their daughters were to be mutilated. The mother explained in court that she had believed that her daughters were to be treated for a worm infection when her sister took them to a clinic.

The parents were arrested in the summer of 2008 when a pre-school teacher claimed to overhear a conversation in which the parents were said to be planning to travel to Sudan to have a now 6 year-old daughter genitally mutliated.

The family father came to Denmark in 1991 as a political refugee. Originally from Eritrea, the parents had lived for several years in Sudan.

Female genital mutliation - sometimes termed circumcision - has been a criminal offence in Denmark since 2003.

Hat Tip Women Against Shariah


now said...

Here is an image of a girl who's undergone the procedure:

Perpetua said...

Hi now,
I believe that is a photograph of infibulation, when the outer labia is sewn closed, often after cutting out the clitoris. You may be right that this mother was having infibulation procedure done on her daughters because I understand that is the practice in Sudan.

now said...

I'm not clear on the difference between FGM and infibrulation.

Perpetua said...

I just posted a story on FMG in Italy and tried to explain it a little. Also included links to Wikipedia on both FMG and Infibulation.