Female Genital Mutilation: Woman Arrested In The United States For Act Linked To Kenya

A practicing doctor in the US state of Michigan who was arrested for practicing female genital mutilation otherwise known as female circumcision proves to have links to Kenya.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was arrested last week while boarding a flight to Kenya. According to court papers, the doctor was traveling to visit two of her children who are enrolled in a boarding school in Nairobi.

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Upon Nagarwala’s arrest, she was charged with violating a law prohibiting the practice of cutting female genitalia. During her bail hearing on Tuesday, federal prosecutors argued in a Detroit courtroom that the mother of four should be denied bail due to flight risk stemming from her ties to Kenya and India.

The court was told that the 44-year-old woman’s husband owned homes in India, of which one is for rent.

Her attorney, Shannon Smith, however, refused the flight risk claims saying that her client was not fleeing the country at the time of arrest. Ms. Smith said Dr. Nagarwala was not aware of the FBI’s investigation but was rather making a long-planned visit to her children in Kenya.

US Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub denied Dr. Nagarwala bail.

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Upon bail denial, Ms. Smith gave the court a recount of the incident in which prosecutors allege to be female genital mutilation.

She told the court that the doctor did not actually cut the genitals of the two seven-year-old girls in February as cited by the prosecutors, but instead removed membrane from the girls’ genitals.

Ms. Smith recounted that Dr. Nagarwala wrapped the membrane cut out in gauze and gave it to the girls’ parents for burial. That was in keeping with a religious custom of the Indian Muslim community known as the Dawoodi Bohra.

Dr. Nagarwala now faces a possible life imprisonment sentence if convicted on the charges against her.