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Detroit doctor charged with performing genital mutilation on girls

By Mike Bambach
Jumana Nagarwala is believed to be the first doctor charged with performing genital mutilation under U.S. law criminalizing the practice. Image courtesy Henry Ford Hospital
Jumana Nagarwala is believed to be the first doctor charged with performing genital mutilation under U.S. law criminalizing the practice. Image courtesy Henry Ford Hospital

April 14 (UPI) -- In what is believed to be the first criminal case of its kind, a Michigan doctor has been charged with performing genital mutilation on girls ranging from 6 to 8 years old.

A federal complaint against Jumana Nagarwala alleges the doctor performed the procedure, where part or all of the female genitalia is removed, on numerous girls out of a medical office in Livonia, Mich.

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The Justice Department said the case is the first brought under U.S. law that criminalizes the practice.

"Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims," Kenneth A. Blanco, an acting attorney general with the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said in a statement. "The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse."

Nagarwala appeared in court on Thursday and was ordered held in jail until another hearing on Monday. She was placed on leave by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where she worked as an emergency room physician.

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The World Health Organization, which documented the practice in more than 30 countries, estimates more than 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone some form of genital cutting.

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