The prosecutor in a case involving a couple who sent their daughters away to be genitally mutilated has demanded a four-year prison sentence for the parents.
The couple were arrested last year charged with the physical abuse of their daughters, who are now nine and eleven years old. It is alleged that the daughters were sent to Sudan in 2003 by their parents to have their labia removed.
Female genital mutilation has been illegal in Denmark since 2003 and the current case is the first of its type in the country.
The defence attorney for the 50-year-old father has accused the state of over-reaction.
“This is a case about ignorance. It is not a case about evil, premeditated abuse,” says attorney Thorkild Høyer according to Ritzau.
Police were alerted to plans for the mutilation of the two girls by the Social Services who feared that the couple would send their third daughter, who is now five, to be similarly mutilated during a planned visit to Sudan this summer.
Female genital mutilation is generally classified into three categories.
Clitoridectomy is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and sometimes the prepuce. Excision is the partial or total removal of the clitoris and labia minora with or without the excision of the labia majora. And infibulation, which is the forced narrowing of the vaginal opening.
According to the World Health Organisation some 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide have been mutilated, 92 million of whom are in Africa. Three million young girls are said to be at risk of being forced into the procedure in Africa each year.
The WHO says the procedure has no health benefits, is seen as a health hazard and is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Edited by Julian Isherwood