The first conviction in Ireland for female genital mutilation (FGM) which was carried out by parents of a one-year-old baby girl has resulted in prison sentences for the mother and father.
The 37-year-old man and the 27-year old woman, both African born, were convicted of carrying out the mutilation in September 2016. The husband received five and a half years while the wife received four years and nine months in jail after a jury deliberated for three hours before giving a unanimous verdict.
Medical evidence showed that the head and glans of the one-year-old’s clitoris had been cut off. When the child bled profusely the father took her to a nearby hospital and claimed she had been injured by falling on a toy.
Dr. Sinead Harty testified during the trial that the injury sustained was not consistent with falling on a toy. The child had suffered tremendous pain during the procedure.
The practice in Ireland is outlawed but estimates that 3,000 young girls a year are subjected to it have been made by experts.
The practice has been popular in East Africa for many thousands of years, an expert Doctor Deborah Hodes stated, while refuting that it was an official part of the Muslim faith ritual.
The couple had lived in Ireland since 2008 and the husband was under a deportation order.
Colman Fitzgerald the lawyer defending the father said the mutilation carried out was less serious than other kinds and the husband had immediately brought the girl to a hospital.
Patrick Gageby, the lawyer defending the mother, stated that his client is a married woman with three young children all of them well cared for.
After the sentencing, Chief Superintendent Declan Daly of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said it “sends a strong and important message that female genital mutilation, the mutilation of children and young girls, is not and will not be tolerated.”