by WorldTribune Staff, August 29, 2016
Egypt’s government has approved a draft law making female circumcision a felony offense.
The law, drafted on Aug. 28, calls for punishing anyone involved in female circumcision, better known as female genital mutilation (FGM), by five to seven years in prison instead of the current penalty of a maximum three years of imprisonment, Health Minister Ahmad Emad said.
“The penalty can reach 15 years in prison if the [FGM] operation results in a permanent disability or death,” Emad told a press conference.
Parents subjecting their girls to the procedure face a jail term ranging from one to three years. The procedure has been banned in Egypt since 2007.
“The amended law can end the crimes of female circumcision which presently reaches around 91 per cent in Egypt,” Emad added.
The draft, which has to be approved by parliament to take effect, comes three months after a 17-year-old girl died of illegal female circumcision surgery she underwent in a private hospital in the coastal city of Suez, marking Egypt’s first reported death from FGM since 2013.
In the past, FGM was performed in Egypt by local midwives and even barbers using knives or razors and without the use of anesthetics. In recent years, some 82 percent of FGM operations in Egypt have been performed by medical practitioners, according to official figures.