A London mother became the first person to be sued for female genital mutilation in Britain when she was convicted Friday of hurting her 3-year-old daughter.
The 37-year-old Ugandan woman denied her guilt and said her daughter was accidentally injured. The jurors of the London Central Criminal Court found that the girl had been deliberately cut off.
The mother was not named to protect the identity of her child. The jury acquitted the girl's father, a 43-year-old Ghanaian man.
Criminal proceedings started after the parents called in August 2017 to request emergency assistance. The hospital doctors were wary of what they had found when examining the 3-year-old boy.
London police said that while investigating, police found two cows' tongues pierced with nails and other items that they believed were related to witchcraft at the woman's home. They said notes telling police and social workers to "shut up" and "freeze their mouths" were also found during the search. .
The chief inspector of the Metropolitan Police, Ian Baker, said that the girl "had been subjected to horrific abuses" but that she had recovered well and that she was now living with another family.
Judge Philippa Whipple stated that a long-term sentence was provided for the conviction of the woman on March 8th. She faces a maximum penalty of 14 years.
Female genital mutilation – intentionally tampering with or injuring female genitalia for non-medical reasons – has been a crime in Britain since 1985. However, few prosecutions have been initiated and this is the first time that 'female genital mutilation has occurred. a conviction has been pronounced.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 200 million girls and women have been affected in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where this practice is concentrated.
Inspector Allen Davis, senior officer of the Metropolitan Police responsible for FGM, said the case showed that "FGM still took place in London and the UK, behind a veil of secrecy" in " communities that can be completely closed. "
He added that "a problem related to honor and shame" was also a crime involving families, which is why few cases have been brought to court.
"People do not necessarily want their mothers to go to jail," said Davis. "It's a real challenge for people to get up and talk about what's going on in communities when it could mean they're risking ostracism."
This version has been corrected to show that Inspector Allen Davis has stated that some British communities are "closed enough" and not "closed quotes".