Huffpost UK uk

London Doctor Dhanoun Dharmasena One Of Two Charged With Female Genital Mutilation

Posted: Updated:
WHITTINGTON HOSPITAL
The Whittington Hospital | Nick Pickles via Getty Images

A London hospital doctor is one of two people to be charged for female genital mutilation, the first two in the UK to be prosecuted for such an offence.

Dr Dhanoun Dharmasena, from the Whittington Hospital in London, and Hasan Mohamed, have been charged with FGM, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Friday.

It is alleged that the doctor carried out the procedure on a woman who had given birth in November 2012, and that Mohamed encouraged and helped him.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: "The CPS was asked to consider evidence in relation to this allegation of female genital mutilation by the Metropolitan Police Service.

"It was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital, in London, repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself.

"Having carefully considered all the available evidence, I have determined there is sufficient evidence and it would be in the public interest to prosecute Dr Dhanoun Dharmasena for an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003).

"I have also determined that Hasan Mohamed should face one charge of intentionally encouraging an offence of FGM, contrary to section 44(1) of the Serious Crime Act (2007), and a second charge of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring Dr Dharmasena to commit an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003)."

The pair will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on April 15.

Prosecutors said they had also looked at four other cases - one of which was new and three that were reconsidered after decisions to take no further action - and found there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

One of the old cases involved a man calling an FGM helpline, intended for victims, to ask for the procedure to be carried out on his two daughters. The new case involved two parents accused of taking their daughter abroad to have FGM.

The CPS would not give details of the other two cases.

FGM has been a criminal offence since 1985, and in 2003 the maximum sentence was increased from five to 14 years in jail.

Prosecutors are considering another four cases of alleged FGM, and are in early discussions with police about another two.

FGM is carried out in some traditions in the belief it will reduce a woman's libido and discourage sexual activity before marriage. It is prevalent in some Muslim countries where a high value is placed on a woman's chastity and modesty.

It has been estimated that more than 20,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK have undergone the procedure.

But the true extent is unknown due to the "hidden" nature of the crime.

A 2011 report, The Missing Link, says FGM is performed by communities from Somalia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Egypt, Djibouti, and, to a lesser degree, communities in Uganda, Niger, Ghana and Cameroon as well as by some groups in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, as well as Oman and Yemen.

Around the Web

FGM Female Genital Mutilation: Britain's first ever criminal charges ...

FGM In Britain: Two Male Doctors Arrested Over Mutilation Claims ...

London Doctor Accused Of Carrying Out Female Genital Mutilation

Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies

Hold Neo-Conservative Muslim Scholars To the Same Standards As Other ...