Aslan Fadl, a doctor accused of causing death of a 13-year-old girl Sohair Al Batea during female circumcision also known as female genital mutilation operation has been released by prosecutors pending further investigations.
He had turned himself in claiming the operation was at the request of the girl’s family and denying accusations of negligence leading to her death.
Forensic doctors reported her death was caused by an overdose of anesthetic drugs.
The operation has been illegal in Egypt since 2007 following the death of two young girls during similar procedures.
Penalties for engaging in the practice are between three months and two years in prison and fines. However, it is still practiced by many using traditional cutters and even secretly operating medical staff. The practice is a cultural norm for both Christians and Muslims in the region and it dates back to centuries practiced in order to reduce sexual desire.
However, the cultural practice still thrives in Muslims and Christians of African countries. It is more of a cultural ritual than anything else. It entails cutting a girl’s genitalia. Many believe it is a religious duty, but it is not mentioned in either the Quran or the Bible.
The process is not free of dangers. It apparently has no health benefits for girls and women and in many cases even can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths. According to World Health Organization, about 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
The United Nations' Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Population Fund (UNFPA) haveinsisted on Egypt to halt female genital mutilation (FGM) procedures.
Senior religious figures in Egypt have repeatedly stated that FGM has no basis in Islam or Christianity, but some Islamist politicians who have recently come to power have called for the ban on FGM to be lifted.
However, some hold the opinion that the ban has forced many to seek out traditional cutters or shady back street operators that causes much more harm.
One thing is for sure. The practice is not going to die away anytime soon. What may work is a detailed-socio-political drive that weans people away from this practice.