Woman jailed after handing over British girl for FGM in Kenya

Amina Noor, 40, becomes first person to be prosecuted under UK legislation for assisting illegal practice while abroad

Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey, central London, after Amina Noor was jailed for seven years for assisting a non-UK person to carry out female genital mutilation on a three-year-old British girl. PA
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A woman convicted of having helped in the genital mutilation of a three-year-old girl during a trip to Kenya was on Friday jailed for seven years by a UK judge.

Amina Noor, 40, was found guilty last year at the Old Bailey of assisting a non-UK person to carry out the procedure overseas about 18 years ago.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is illegal in Britain and many other nations. It is also a criminal offence for British citizens or permanent residents to perform or help to perform it overseas.

Noor was only the second person to be convicted under the FGM Act of 2003 and the first convicted for committing the offence abroad.

The only other successful prosecution was in 2019 when a Ugandan woman from Walthamstow, east London, was jailed for 11 years for cutting a three-year-old girl.

On handing out the seven-year term, Judge Simon Bryan called Noor's crime “truly horrific and abhorrent”.

He hoped that the victim's “bravery” would encourage others to report similar crimes.

Noor, from Harrow in north-west London, was born in Somalia and came at age 16 to the UK, where she was given British citizenship.

Prosecutor Deanna Heer told a jury that Noor had handed over the girl for so-called female circumcision during the visit to Kenya in 2006.

Noor told the court she had not expected the girl to be subjected to the procedure.

But Ms Heer said: “Not only was the procedure carried out upon [the girl] … but the defendant had been discussing precisely the kind of FGM before she took [her] to that clinic.”

The defendant described what had been done to the girl as “Sunnah”, meaning “tradition” or “way” in Arabic, and said it was a practice that had gone on for cultural reasons for many years.

The court was told that 94 per cent of females of Somali origin living in Kenya undergo the procedure, according to UN figures.

Giving evidence in her trial, Noor said she was threatened with being “cursed” and “disowned” within her community if she did not take part.

She told jurors the threat gave her “pain” and said: “That was a pressure I had no power to do anything about.”

The victim, who is now aged 21, cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The crime came to light years later when she told her teacher at school.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey following the sentencing, Met Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy told reporters: “I hope today’s sentence acts as a real deterrent to those who choose to harm children in this way.

“More importantly, I hope that we can use this result as an opportunity to continue to raise awareness of this topic, ensuring victims know that there is support and help out there.”

The practice is common in some African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

The risky procedure is often carried out under unsterile conditions and can lead to severe complications.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to the practice.

Updated: February 16, 2024, 8:39 PM