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March 26, 2014

UK presses first charges on female genital mutilation

Charges in landmark case under 2003 law against British medical team.

Two men will be tried under the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Act of 2003 for the first time in the United Kingdom. Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed will appear at a court in London on April 15 to face charges of carrying out an FGM procedure on a patient in 2012. Dr. Dharmasena and Mohamed allegedly restitched the vaginal opening of a woman who had previously undergone FGM after she gave birth at a London hospital. 

Critics say the landmark case risks deterring medical staff from giving appropriate care to affected women.

FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985. While many praised the historic prosecution, others say implementing the law is long overdue. The Crown Prosecution Service said only 11 FGM cases had been referred to them by police, out of at least 144 complaints.