Building on a case in which two girls were victims of genital mutilation, USA federal agents have arrested a doctor and his wife on allegations of helping to arrange the procedures. "The complaint alleges that the FGM procedure was performed on girls who were approximately six to eight years old", the Justice Department says.
Fakhruddin Attar and Farida Attar were due to appear in federal court on Friday afternoon, charged with participating in the conspiracy and aiding and abetting the performance of FGM. It's not known whether they have lawyers who could comment on the allegations.
An organisation representing the Dawoodi Bohra community in Detroit released a statement on Friday saying that "any violation of United States law is counter to instructions to our community members".
"This investigation has identified other children who may have been cut by Nagarwala at Attar's clinic, MBC, between 2005 and 2017, including children in MI". The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 513,000 women and girls are at risk of FGM in the US.
Federal investigators say all three conspired to mutilate the genitals of young girls - a horrific practice that can involve the partial or complete removal of the clitoris or narrowing the vaginal opening by stitching it up.
The second girl said she screamed in pain after the procedure, and that afterward "she could barely walk, and that she felt pain all the way down to her ankle".
FGM is an internationally recognized human rights violation, with all 193 members of the United Nations committed to eliminating the practice.
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The report also found that while female genital mutilation was a crime under federal and many state laws, there were few investigations or prosecutions stemming from it - because of underreporting and other problems, The Washington Post's Matt Zapotosky reported.
The federal complaint shows that investigators obtained phone records for the Attars and Nagarwala in February and March.
The criminal complaint filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of MI defines sexual activity in this case as "the touching of genitalia with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass or degrade".
World Health Organization said FGM, which is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
During a hearing on the matter, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Mazjoub said, "I think there's clear and convincing evidence that your client poses a danger to the community".
The victims were driven by their parents across state lines for the extreme procedure, many coming from Minnesota.