Historic: UK Woman Sentenced for Facilitating Female Genital Mutilation

A woman was arrested and jailed in the United Kingdom for assisting a person in carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) on a three-year-old British girl during a trip to Kenya.

This incident was the first time in the history of London’s Metropolitan Police that someone was charged with helping someone carry out FGM for British citizens abroad and the second time in British history that someone was convicted of FGM since it became illegal under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act of 1985, which made it illegal to perform FGM on adults and children in the UK.

40-year-old Amina Noor from Harrow was arrested in October last year after she took a British girl, then aged 3, to Kenya in 2006 to have her clitoris removed, a procedure known as Type 1 FGM. She was sentenced to seven years in prison at the Old Bailey on February 16th, the first conviction of its kind.

Noor, who was born in Somalia, was previously found guilty of assisting a non-British person to perform FGM on a British female citizen overseas, contrary to Section 3 of the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Act of 2003, which made it an offense to arrange FGM outside of the United Kingdom for British citizens or permanent residents, regardless of whether it is legal or not in the country where the girl was taken. The judge who presided over the case described the crime as "abhorrent" and "horrific.

During the investigation, Noor initially denied the charges against her. Still, detectives disproved her account and worked closely with medical professionals to provide evidence that the victim had been subjected to abuse. The victim, who is now 21 and cannot be identified for legal reasons, confided in her English teacher about the offense when she was 16 years old, which led to the teacher telling the police about the incident.

Noor, who also went through FGM as a child, said during the trial that she feared being "disowned and cursed" by community members if she did not participate in the ritualized cutting, which is almost like a rite of passage into womanhood for many cultures. She also described what had been done as a "sunnah,” meaning "prophetic tradition" in Arabic, and claimed it was a historical, cultural, and religious practice.

With Noor’s arrest, the Metropolitan Police hopes that more victims of FGM will come forward and that it will deter those considering FGM.

Our mission is to prevent FGM from taking place, working with local communities and expert health partners to achieve this and safeguard vulnerable children.” Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy said. “We know FGM can be a taboo subject, which is rarely discussed within families and communities – we must build trust with those impacted so we can protect victims. It’s not our job to judge, and we will always remain sensitive and respectful.

I hope today’s sentence acts as a real deterrent to those who choose to harm children in this way. Most importantly, I hope that we can use this result as an opportunity to continue to raise awareness of this topic, ensuring victims know that there is support and help out there,” the detective added.

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