Egypt in shock as girl dies from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Published May 31st, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
Two Egyptian girls wear masks to protect against swine flu. (AFP/File)
Two Egyptian girls wear masks to protect against swine flu. (AFP/File)

A 17-year-old girl died of complications after undergoing circumcision surgery in Egypt's coastal city of Suez, marking the country's first reported death from female genital mutilation (FGM) since 2013, health officials and media said on Monday.

The victim, identified as Mayar Mohammad, suffered from severe bleeding and a drop in blood circulation after she was subjected to the illegal procedure in a private hospital in Suez, they added.

Health authorities in the city, around 120km from Cairo, ordered the hospital closed, the semi-official newspaper Al Ahram reported.

The hospital's officials and a doctor suspected of having carried out the operation are facing investigations in connection with the girl's death, according to the paper.

Egypt's governmental National Council for Women condemned the unlawful surgery.

"Performers of such criminal operations must face strict measures," the council said in a statement.

Several members of parliament, meanwhile, presented queries over the incident that violated a 2007 ban on FGM in Egypt.

Some friends of the victim blamed her mother for subjecting the teenager to the procedure.

"Mayar died due to ignorance and backwardness of her mother, who regarded her daughter as guilty only because she was created a female," Rawan Al Jamal, a classmate of the victim, mourned her in a Facebook post.

In recent years, Egyptian authorities have stepped up efforts to stop the practice, which is believed to have been observed in the country for many centuries.

Earlier this year, a disciplinary court in the Nile Delta province of Mansura revoked the medical licence of a local doctor after he was convicted in the 2013 death of a girl due to complications from an FGM operation he performed on her.

Last year, an appeals court sentenced the doctor, identified as Raslan Fadl, to two years in prison on charges of manslaughter related to the 13-year-old girl's death and three more months for violating the ban on the practice.

The court also ordered Fadl's private clinic closed for a year. The victim's father was given a suspended three-month sentence on charges of complicity.

The convictions were Egypt's first since the FGM procedures became a criminal offence in the country.

An estimated 90 per cent of Egypt's women have become victims of the practice that includes the removal of all or part of the clitoris. Circumcision is usually done for girls before reaching puberty.

In the past, FGM was performed in Egypt by local midwives and even barbers without the use of anaesthetics, using knives or razors.

In recent years, however, some 82 per cent of FGM operations in Egypt have been performed by medical practitioners, according to official figures.

Experts say that severe forms of FGM can lead to life-long psychosexual problems and troubles related to menstruation, sexual intercourse and childbirth.

By Ramadan Al Sherbini


© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2020. All rights reserved.

You may also like