SAMY MAGDY (AP) — Egypt’s chief prosecutor Saturday referred a physician to criminal trial for allegedly mutilating the genitals of a 12-year-old girl, leading to her death, his office said.
The girl bled to death last month in the southern province of Assiut following a 30-minute surgery. Her death sparked a nationwide outcry.
Despite battling the practice for decades, Egypt has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, in the world. Many families fear that an uncircumcised daughter will be unable to marry.
Public prosecutor Hamada el-Sawy also referred the girl’s parents to trial, according to a statement from his office. No date has been set for their trials.
The doctor, Ali Abdel-Fadeel, told investigators he was performing cosmetic surgery on the girl, according to the prosecutor’s statement. But that claim was refuted following an examination of the girl’s body by forensic experts.
The state-run National Population Council said in 2019 that 82% of girls under age 17 in Egypt have undergone the procedure.
The practice generally involves removing all or part of the clitoris and sometimes the labia. It is performed on both Muslims and Christians and is misguidedly believed to control the girl’s sexual desires.
Rights advocates condemn the practice as abuse and mutilation that scars girls physically and psychologically.
Egypt criminalized the practice in 2008, but it remains widespread. In recent years, cases where girls bled to death after the horrific procedure have made headlines in Egypt.