A Michigan emergency room doctor was arrested last week and charged with performing female genital mutilation (FGM) surgery on two 7-year-old girls.
According to NPR.org, Jumana Nagarwala, 44, was also charged with “transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity” — a legal reference to FGM surgery — and making false statements to a federal officer.
The U.S. Department of Justice followed up on a tip that a physician was performing the outlawed surgery on young girls in a motel room near Detroit.
The children told federal agents that their parents told them they were taking a “‘special’ girls trip.”
The girls were accompanied by their mothers to a motel room outside of Detroit, where they were met by Nagarwala.
The doctor told each child that she was giving them an injection to “get the germs out”.
After the procedure, one little girl told investigators she could “barely walk”, and that her parents “told her that the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it.”
During a hearing on Monday, defense lawyer Shannon Thompson told the judge his client was merely practicing a “religious procedure” that is popular among her religious community.
Thompson wanted Nagarwala released from jail and placed on home confinement.
But the judge refused to release her.
“There is clear and convincing evidence that (Nagarwala) poses a danger to the community,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub said.
Under federal law it is illegal to perform female genital surgery in America.
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States,” Daniel Lemisch, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said in a statement. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”