Ilford doctor pleads not guilty in UK’s first female genital mutilation case
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
An Ilford doctor has denied performing female genital mutilation (FGM) while working at a hospital.
Dr Dhanoun Dharmasena, 31, of Rushden Gardens, and his co-defendant Hasan Mohamed, 40, of Holloway, are the first men to be prosecuted under laws prohibiting the practice.
They both denied all charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Dharmasena is accused of repairing FGM that had previously been performed on a woman who gave birth at Whittington Hospital in November 2012.
He has been charged with an offence contrary to the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation Act and Mohamed faces charges of intentionally encouraging an offence of FGM and aiding and abetting Dharmasena to commit an offence.
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They will next appear at Southwark Crown Court on May 2.
Also known as “cutting” or female circumcision, FGM is a cultural practice originating in some parts of Africa and the Middle East where parts of young girls’ genitals are removed or sewn up.
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It has been a criminal offence in England since 1985, when the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 was passed.
It was replaced in 2003 with the Female Genital Mutilation Act, which also made it an offence for UK residents to carry out FGM abroad or procure it, even in countries where the practice is legal.
The maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment.