April 21 (UPI) -- Federal agents arrested a Michigan doctor and his wife Friday on charges they abetted a fellow doctor in mutilating the genitals of two young Minnesota girls.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, was charged last week with violating a federal law making the procedure, which is a ritual in some Islamic sects, illegal. Law enforcement said she removed a portion of the external genitalia of two girls who were brought to Michigan by their parents earlier this year to have the procedure performed.
The victims are between 6 and 8 years old, according to authorities.
At the time of Nagarwala's arrest, officials did not say where the alleged mutilation happened. On Friday, they arrested Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, both of Livonia, Mich. Agents said Attar allowed Nagarwala to use his Livonia office to perform the procedure. Farida Attar was present, holding the girls' hands to "comfort" them while Nagarwala performed the procedure, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The case is the nation's first criminal prosecution for genital cutting. Though Nagarwala has been charged with two violations of the federal law, the FBI said they believe there are more victims.
Nagarwala and the Attars are members of the same Indian-Muslim sect, Dawoodi Bohra, a branch of which also exists in Minnesota, where the young victims live. The complaint states Attar was in regular cellphone contact with members of the Minnesota sect, as well as Nagarwala, who is an emergency room doctor in Michigan.
Attar and his wife were charged with conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation, and aiding and abetting female genital mutilation.
Nagarwala faces potential life in prison if convicted of committing female genital mutilation.