Doctor denies genital mutilation; judge keeps her locked up

Posted April 19, 2017

Physicians in Minnesota tipped off authorities to the alleged activity after examining two seven-year-old girls who were in pain following the surgery.

"According to the complaint, despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims", said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. The girls were told to keep what happened a secret, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation found out, records show.

An emergency room doctor from Detroit is facing federal charges, accused of performing female genital mutilation on young girls. The FBI is not naming the parents to protect the identity of the children.

If convicted, Nagarwala faces a fine and up to five years in prison for performing female genital mutilation, also known as FGM. Search for "Nagarwala" or "female genital mutilation", and many women's sites say nothing of the story.

In court Monday, the government painted a much different portrait of Nagarwala, saying she performed female genital mutilation on several young girls over the years, directed them to keep it quiet and encouraged their parents to lie to authorities when investigators started asking questions.

"This is going to be a complex" case, Smith said.

Her employer, Henry Ford Health Systems, expressed concern about the allegations and said Nagarwala has been placed on administrative leave. Both girls were told not to talk about what happened at the clinic by Defendant and their parents. It's primarily performed in a band of countries across east, central and west Africa, and also exists in Yemen and Indonesia and is believed to be prevalent in parts of India and Russian Federation.

This is the first case of it's kind in the U.S. Federal prosecutors say it's the first time someone has been charged with violating a USA ban on genital mutilation.

The parents could face charges of child neglect, child abuse, and transporting their children across state lines for the objective of criminal sexual activity.

Especially egregious, authorities said, is that the accused is a doctor who is supposed to help and heal people. Additionally, depending on their immigration status, they could also be deported from the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2012, at least 513,000 women and girls in the USA had undergone or were at risk of being subjected to FGM.

Nagarwala was interviewed by federal agents on April 10, and denied having performed the mutilations. Woodward said investigators believe she has performed genital mutilation in MI as far back as 2005, although an exact number was not known.

Nagarwala does not work at the clinic and there are no billing records indicating that she has performed medical procedures there, according to the complaint.

"We were shocked by the allegations", Henry Ford Health System said in statement last week. Her bio lists the languages she speaks as English and Gujarati, spoken by the Gujaratis, who hail from the western India state of Gujarat. She is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community - a small sect of Indian Muslims - and belongs to a mosque in Farmington Hills. Gujarat is predominantly Hindu, but there are also significant populations of Muslims, Christians and Jains, according to a 2011 census. Within the sect, the practice of female circumcision remains a divisive issue, although supporters defend the ritual. I am really sorry to hear this.

Until Nagarwala's arrest, the most high-profile case related to FGM in the United States was that of a father in the state of Georgia. It's unclear what led them to the doctor to begin with.

The procedure is believed to initiate girls into adulthood and ensure their marriageability, according to Human Rights Watch, a NY nonprofit human rights organization.

Jaha Dukureh, the founder and executive director of Safe Hands for Girls, an organization working to end genital cutting, underwent FGM in her home country of Gambia.

This procedure is illegal in the US, but is often done in areas of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa as part of a particular religious and cultural community.

Congress passed a law in 1996 making it illegal to perform genital mutilation or cutting in the USA on anyone under than 18.

What Is Female Genital Mutilation?

The FBI is asking anyone who has information about female genital mutilation or Nagarwala to call 800-CALL-FBI.