Doctors Arrested for Female Genital Mutilation Will Not Be Charged for Sexual Assault, Says Judge
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and her husband Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, arrested for allegedly practicing female genital mutilation, will not be charged for sexual assault, a U.S. District Court judge said.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and her husband Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, the American doctors of Indian origin who were arrested for allegedly practicing female genital mutilation on 7-year-old girls from Minnesota, will not be charged for sexual assault, United States District Court Judge Bernard Friedman said. Other charges still remain against the two doctors in the United State’s first genital mutilation case.
“To prove their guilt on this charge, the government must show that defendants transported a minor ‘with intent that (the minor) engage in … any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.’ … The facts alleged in the indictment do not support this charge because, as a matter of law, FGM, while a prohibited criminal act, is not ‘criminal sexual activity,’” Friedman said in his judgment, the Detroit News reported.
He said that no “libidinal gratification” was “sought or obtained” from subjecting the girls to the procedure. A sexual assault charge has harsher prison term than the other charges pressed against them.
On Jan.15, federal prosecutors were considering whether the judge’s dismissal of the sexual assault charge should be appealed.
“We respect the opinion of the court and are reviewing our options for a potential appeal. Moreover, we stand ready to proceed with the remaining charges against the defendants,” U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Gina Balaya told the Detroit News.
Among other charges against the doctor couple is a conspiracy charge, for which they could be sent to prison for up to 20 years. The trial for the case is set for January 2019.
In early 2017, the duo was arrested for allegedly practicing female genital mutilation against prepubescent girls as part of a religious procedure by some members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect that is based in India. The procedure was allegedly conducted at Attar’s clinic.
Attar and Nagarwala have been charged with conspiracy, genital mutilation, lying to a federal agent and obstructing an official proceeding.