US doctor charged with genital mutilation on girls

Photo of Jumana Nagarwala. (henryford.com)
Updated 14 April 2017

US doctor charged with genital mutilation on girls

NEW YORK: A US doctor in Detroit has been arrested and charged with carrying out female genital mutilation on girls aged six to eight, prosecutors said Thursday.
Emergency room doctor Jumana Nagarwala, 44, of Northville, Michigan, is accused of carrying out the widely condemned practice — illegal in the United States — for 12 years from a medical office in Livonia, Michigan.
She appeared in a US federal court in Detroit on Thursday and was remanded into custody until at least Monday, said a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office.
If convicted at trial she faces a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
Congress passed a law in 1996 making it illegal to perform genital mutilation or cutting in the United States on anyone under than 18. Twenty-five US states also have laws prohibiting the practice.
Prosecutors in Michigan say they believe it is the first case of its kind brought under the federal law.
Some of Nagarwala’s victims traveled from outside Michigan and were told not to talk about the procedure, prosecutors said.
“Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco.
“The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”
“The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law,” said acting US Attorney Daniel Lemisch.
In 2006, a court in Georgia found a man guilty of sexually mutilating his two-year-old daughter with a pair of scissors, in what was then the first recorded case of female genital mutilation in the United States.
The Ethiopian immigrant was sentenced to 10 years in prison for aggravated battery and cruelty to children for the 2001 crime.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 513,000 women and girls in the United States in 2012 were at risk of or had been subjected to female genital mutilation or cutting.
The estimate was three times higher than one based on 1990 data, due to increased immigration from countries where genital mutilation is practiced.
Globally, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have suffered some form of female genital mutilation across 30 countries, according to the United Nations.
While concentrated in Africa, it is common in some communities in Asia, Arab states and Latin America. Half of those cut live in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia, according to the UN.


Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

Updated 24 October 2020

Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

  • There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country
  • The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict

KABUL: A suicide bomber struck near an education centre in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in the latest attack to rock the conflict-wracked country.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and the Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The suicide attack, which also wounded 57, happened late afternoon at the centre, which offers training and courses for students in higher education in a western district of Kabul.
"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the interior ministry, said in a statement.
"But he was identified by the centre's guards after which he detonated his explosives in an alley."
He said the attack had left at least 18 people dead and 57 wounded.
"I was standing about 100 metres from the centre when a big blast knocked me down," said local resident Ali Reza, who had gone to hospital with his cousin who was wounded in the blast.
"Dust and smoke was all around me. All those killed and wounded were students who wanted to enter the centre."
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belong to the minority Shiite Hazara community, often targeted by Daesh militants. 
In the past, extremists have targeted several education centres and other facilities in the area.
In May, a group of gunmen launched a brazen daylight attack on a hospital in west Kabul that left several mothers dead. The gunmen were shot dead after hours of fighting with security forces.