Michigan’s FGM case has center stage in the national human rights spotlight. The story of multiple Michigan doctors, from the little known Dawoodi Bohra sect, performing genital mutilation on young girls for religious purposes has caused an uproar. In response, legislation has changed both in Michigan and on a federal level, and several other states have revisited their FGM laws as well. But what’s going on here in Michigan, with the doctors accused of female genital mutilation? Surprising things….
According to numerous media outlets, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman has decided to dismiss one of the charges against the two doctors. Drs. Fakhruddin Attar and Jumana Nagarwala were both charged with conspiracy to transport a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, however the Judge has determined that this charge doesn’t apply to the crime committed.
What was Judge Friedman’s explanation for this decision?
According to Friedman’s written decision, he agreed with the defense because the prosecutors hadn’t provided any evidence to support the claim that “libidinal gratification” was “sought or obtained” as a result of the FGM procedure. “The facts alleged in the indictment do not support this charge because, as a matter of law, FGM, while a prohibited criminal act, is not ‘criminal sexual activity.” Friedman explained.
Under Michigan law, female genital mutilation is defined as ANY form of genital cutting or alteration on an underage female for non-medical purposes. However, if the procedure in question is being performed for religious reasons, as opposed to sexual gratification, it’s easy to see why Judge Friedman made this decision about the charges. Horrific as the procedure may be, it wasn’t sexual in any capacity in this case.
The decision hasn’t been well received by the prosecution!
Not everyone, however, agrees with the Judge’s decision. Elizabeth Yore, international child advocate and head of the EndFGMToday initiative, made the organizations disagreement clear in a recent press release. “We are very disappointed and troubled by the Court’s dismissal of Count 6 of the indictment. The Court, in its legalistic scrupulosity, argued that the government offered no convincing argument showing that the phrase ‘sexual activity,’ as used in the federal transportation of minors, is synonymous with the phrase ‘sexual conduct…”
Yore went on to say that, “The victims, in this case, did not have their ears, nose or face mutilated, rather the defendants intentionally mutilated the genitals, the sexual organs of little girls, by penetrating them. The Court found that although FGM was a criminal act, it was not ‘criminal sexual activity.’ Because the transportation statute did not specifically define sexual activity, the court found that this statutory omission voided the charge.”
The charge dismissed was the most serious of all the charges!
As it stands, the charge dismissed by Judge Friedman was the only one punishable by a life sentence. At this point, Nagarwala, Fakhruddin, and the six other people charged in connection with this crime are still facing numerous charges, including performing genital mutilation on minors, and lying to investigators.
It remains to be seen how this case will play out in court. It’s been almost a year since the first charges against Nagarwala were filed, and this situation shows no signs of slowing down. Parents are fighting to keep their children out of the clutches of CPS, families are being torn apart, and people are facing severe criminal charges.
Do you need help from a child abuse attorney in Michigan?
If you or a loved one have been accused of any form of child abuse or neglect, which stems from a religious or cultural practice, you are going to need understanding and non-judgmental defense attorneys on your side. Call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 to discuss your case with a highly skilled and experienced attorney. We are here to help.