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Australia: Two women arrested, face up to 10 years in jail for planning genital mutilation of a two-week-old baby girl

The practice of female genital mutilation is reportedly carried out between the ages of 4 and 10 but it may also be conducted later, before marriage, during pregnancy or post-birth, mostly in Islamic societies

Two women in Australia are reportedly facing legal action for planning the genital mutilation of a two-week-old baby girl. The women named Sabrina Lightbody and Noridah Binte Mohd are from a suburb in the Cannington Police District in Perth’s South.

The two women had reportedly asked a doctor in January this year to conduct the genital mutilation of the baby. However, the doctor refused to conduct genital mutilation and informed the authorities about it.

An investigation was reportedly initiated by Child Abuse Squad detectives in the matter. Female genital mutilation is a crime in Western Australia. The Western Australia police have charged the women with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. They appeared before the Armadale Magistrates Court on Friday.

Magistrate describes the practice as a serious offence

Declining the women’s request to regain the custody of the baby that is with the child protection authorities, Magistrate Steven Malley described genital mutilation as a serious offence. The Magistrate said that handing the baby to the women would amount to “putting (the baby) back into lion’s den”. The women may be imprisoned for a maximum of 10 years if convicted in the case.

The Police in their statement said that the genital mutilation was planned as part of cultural beliefs. “The WA Police Force embraces the diversity provided by the many cultural and ethnic groups that form our community”, a police spokesperson reportedly said. The procedures involving the removal of part of or all of the external female genitalia or causing injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons are illegal across Australia. Reports suggest that around 53,000 women have undergone female genital mutilation across Australia.

Female genital mutilation can be performed at any age including just before marriage, during pregnancy or post-birth

The practise of female genital mutilation is reportedly carried out between the ages of 4 and 10 but it may also be conducted later, before marriage, during pregnancy or post-birth. While several reasons are cited as the motivation for female genital mutilation including psychosexual and sociological reasons, the practice is said to be mandated in Islamic law.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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