Indian doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation, denies charges

Indian doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation, denies charges”

Woodward said investigators believe she has performed genital mutilation in MI as far back as 2005, although an exact number was not known.

Norm Cohen was among the protesters who marched outside federal court.

Nagarwala does not work at the Livonia medical clinic where the procedures were performed, according to court documents. Federal investigators have said the families of the Minnesota girls also belong to the sect.

The US authorities have identified what appears to be the first case of deliberate female genitalia mutilation in the country.

The complaint alleges that Nagarwala performed FGM on minor girls.

The girls were interviewed by an Federal Bureau of Investigation child forensic expert and identified Nagarwala as the doctor who operated on them. However, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and past year UNICEF estimated that 200 million women alive today in 30 countries - 27 African nations, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen - have undergone the procedure. Federal prosecutors said the case against Nagarwala is believed to be first FGM case to go to trial in the United States. It's the first time someone has been charged with violating a US ban on genital mutilation. The doctor, however, could get 10 years to life in prison for another crime she was charged with: transportation of an individual with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. The girls had been taken to Nagarwala, who performed the procedure on the girls.

Nagarwala's attorney, Shannon Smith, said the physician, a member of the Dawoodi Bohra sect, removed membranes from the girls' genitalia, then presented the tissue to their parents for a ritualistic burial, the Detroit Free Press reported. This procedure would normally require using a cutting tool.

Nagarwala was ordered held without bond after a Monday detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub.

"She knew that this was illegal but did it anyway", Woodward said.

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According to Nagarwala's profile in the Henry Ford Health System website, she speaks English and Gujarati.

"We are shocked by the allegations", he said.

The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility.

For Sree Kamojjala, president of the Indian Association of Minnesota, the case of the MI doctor is both shocking and deplorable, he said, stressing that genital mutilation "is not a Hindu practice" or a condoned practice in India.

The protest was organized by NOCIRC of MI, a nonprofit group against male circumcision.

Jody Farrugia, a registered nurse at Detroit Medical Center, told the newspaper she tries to talk new parents out of having their sons circumcised.

According to Woodward, authorities interviewed the owner of the Livonia clinic, who said that Nagarwala often used the clinic on Friday and Saturday nights - after it was closed - to treat children for genital rashes.

"The genitals of both girls and boys needs to be protected from the harm of any genital cutting practice", Norm Cohen, executive director of NOCIRC of MI, a nonprofit, consumer-rights advocacy group that opposes male circumcision, told the Free Press. "This unnecessary custom violates a child's right to bodily integrity and normal functions". According to a 2012 study by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, more than 500,000 women and girls were at risk of female genital mutilation or its consequences in the United States, more than three times higher than an earlier estimate based on 1990 census data. Another 3 million girls are at risk of being subjected to the procedure every year, the World Health Organization said.

However, as Daniel Lemisch, Detroit's acting attorney, pointed out, the brutal procedure, which involves the total or partial removal of the clitoris, inner and outer labia, has been allowed for good reasons in most countries around the globe. It has no benefits and can cause severe short- and long-term health problems. The affidavit, according to reports, also said that many of her victims were from MI.

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