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Egypt’s first female genital mutilation trial ends in not guilty verdict

The Guadian, 20.11.2014. The first doctor to be brought to trial in Egypt on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been acquitted, crushing hopes that the landmark verdict would discourage Egyptian doctors from conducting the endemic practice.

Raslan Fadl, a doctor and Islamic preacher in the village of Agga, northern Egypt, was acquitted of mutilating Sohair al-Bata’a in June 2013. The 12-year-old died during the alleged procedure, but Fadl was also acquitted of her manslaughter.

No reason was given by the judge, with the verdict being simply scrawled in a court ledger, rather than being announced in the Agga courtroom.

Sohair’s father, Mohamed al-Bata’a, was also acquitted of responsibility. Police and health officials testified that the child’s parents had admitted taking their daughter to Fadl’s clinic for the procedure.

Despite his acquittal, the doctor was ordered to pay 5,001 Egyptian pounds (about £450) to Sohair’s mother for her daughter’s manslaughter, after the pair reached an out-of-court settlement.

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