Put down the knife

An Egyptian doctor has been found guilty of killing a girl by cutting up her genitals, the BBC reports.

Opponents of FGM were dismayed when Raslan Fadl was acquitted in November of charges relating to the death of 13-year-old Suhair al-Bataa.

But after an appeal, a court in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura sentenced him to more than two years in prison.

The campaign group Equality Now called the ruling a “monumental victory”.

Although FGM was banned in Egypt six years ago, it remains widespread.

That’s a different system from the one in the US. Here an acquittal can’t be appealed: that’s double jeopardy and it’s a no-no.

Fadl was sentenced to two years in prison for manslaughter and three months for performing the FGM procedure, according to Equality Now. His clinic was also ordered to close for a year.

Suhair’s father was meanwhile given a three-month suspended sentence.

The practice of FGM was banned in Egypt in 2008 but the country still has one of the highest rates of prevalence in the world.

So, it seems good that there’s a conviction on the books at last – but Orla Guerin’s analysis says maybe not all that much.

Activists say justice has finally been done for Suhair al-Bataa and a precedent has been set. “The new sentence will deter doctors from performing this dangerous practice,” said Manal Fawzi, who campaigns against FGM in southern Egypt.

Maybe so, but it took a dogged campaign by local and international groups to ensure a prosecution was brought. The sentence was broadly welcomed but media interest has waned in the wait for the initial verdict, and the appeal result is not expected to garner too much attention.

Tiny tiny tiny steps.


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