A Detroit-area doctor was arrested Thursday for performing female genital mutilation (FGM) on two minor girls, The Detroit News reported.
Jumana Nagarwala is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon. A press release from the Department of Justice said Nagarwala is believed to be the first person charged under the federal law prohibiting FGM. The law passed in 1996. The offense is a federal felony.
DOJ —> Detroit ER doctor charged with performing female genital mutilation on 6-8 year-olds. First case brought under law criminalizing FGM. pic.twitter.com/pq0KYjjWve
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) April 13, 2017
The News reports the charge came after an FBI investigation of Nagarwala. The FBI interviewed the doctor’s two victims, who identified Nagarwala as the woman who performed the procedure. According to the Justice Department’s press release, the girls were between 6 and 8 years old.
One girl said the doctor “pinched” her and the other said she “got a shot” that made her scream in pain. Both girls were instructed by their parents not to tell anyone of the procedure.
Nagarwala has reportedly denied the allegations. But the FBI’s investigation revealed that the girls’ families checked into a hotel nearby the clinic where the FGM took place. Phone records show that one of the families is from Minnesota and communicated with Nagarwala. One of the girls’ parents also confirmed the trip. According to FBI records, they called the procedure a “cleansing” of extra skin, the News reports.
FGM removes some or all of external female genitalia. There is no medical benefit to the procedure, which causes severe pain and serious health problems. It usually occurs in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The World Health Organization calls FGM “a violation of the human rights of girls and women.” The organization notes that over 200 million women and girls currently living have undergone the procedure.
Over 500,000 women and girls were at risk for FGM in the U.S. in 2012, CNN reported, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CNN noted the significant spike in the number of those at risk from 1990.
Nagarwala is employed by Henry Ford Health System and has been placed on administrative leave, the News reported. (For more from the author of “Detroit-Area Doctor Arrested for Female Genital Mutilation on Minors” please click HERE)