An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced a nurse to 10 years in prison for carrying out a female genital mutilation on a teenage girl that caused her permanent injury.
The nurse was tried and sentenced in absentia. The girl’s father, an accused in the same case, was sentenced three years in prison. Both men can appeal their sentences.
The pair were arrested in early February, a day after the crime was reported to prosecutors by a doctor in a hospital to which the girl was taken after the nurse botched the illegal operation, causing the teenager to bleed severely.
The 10-year prison verdict meted out by the court north of Cairo is the longest since Egypt toughened penalties for performing the now-banned female genital mutilation, or FGM.
About 90 per cent of Egyptian women and girls aged between 15 and 49 have undergone FGM, according to a 2016 survey by the UN agency for women and children, Unicef.
Justified on moral or religious terms by its supporters, FGM is common among Egypt’s Muslim majority and its Christian minority. A 2008 ban on the practice led to a significant drop in the number of cases but failed to stop it entirely.
This year, Egypt’s Parliament created stiffer penalties for FGM, imposing prison terms of up to 20 years in a bid to end the practice. The law had been tightened in 2016 to make it a criminal offence to request or carry out FGM.
In Egypt and Sudan, medical personnel are responsible for about eight out of 10 FGM procedures, whereas traditional practitioners are responsible for most of the procedures in Djibouti, Iraq and Yemen, Unicef said.
FGM is found more often among those living in rural areas – in the poorest households and populations with less education. It involves the removal of a girl's external genitals.
Supporters of the ancient practice say it bolsters the virtue of girls but opponents say it has no health benefits.
FGM can cause severe bleeding and problems with urinating, infections and cysts, as well as increasing the chances of complications during childbirth.