The Egyptian Coalition for Children’s Rights (ECCR) has called on all Egyptians, including political and rights groups, to put an end to the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The coalition said in statement on Friday that it is very disturbed by the state stance on FGM, accusing the state of turning a blind eye when it comes to surgeries that continue to take place in villages and in Upper Egypt.
The ECCR revisited the case of 13-year-old Soheir Al-Batae who died last week while a doctor was performing FGM on her in a private clinic in Daqahleya. After ordering his temporary detention for four days, public prosecutors decided to release the doctor, Aslan Fadl.
Fadl had turned himself in and denied any negligence or malpractice on his part. Al-Batae died because of a severe drop in blood pressure. The doctor administered anaesthesia on Al-Batae himself, without the presence of an anaesthesiologist.
The coalition called on the prosecution to change the charges brought against Fadl to illegally performing FGM. The children’s rights group also called on the prosecution to order the immediate release of a forensics report.
The National Council for Women had condemned Al-Batae’s death, describing FGM as a “criminal act”.
The ECCR called on the Ministry of Health to carry out the maximum administrative penalty against doctors who practice the surgery.
The council also called on the ministries of interior and justice as well as the prosecutor general to ensure the law criminalising FGM be implemented in order to “hold the real perpetrators of this heinous crime accountable.”
The statement by the ECCR also said the continuation of the practice is a blatant challenge of the Penal Code. In 2007, then-health minister Hatem Al-Gabali banned FGM surgery. In 2008, an article was introduced to the Penal Code, criminalising the practice.
Law 242 states that committing FGM is a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine of at least EGP 5,000.
The ECCR said that there is a need for media and civil society organisations to continue to raise awareness on the negative effects of FGM.