Man accused of circumcising daughter

A father is facing prosecution for arranging for his daughter to be circumcised, in the first case of its kind in Sweden.

The man, who originally comes from Somalia, allegedly took his daughter to his homeland against her mother’s will. While there, the girl was circumcised.

Prosecutor Margareta Henrikson today launched a prosecution of the man, who is charged with child abuse and with breaking the ban on female circumcision.

Sweden specifically banned female circumcision in 1982, but until now there have been no prosecutions.

Other prosecutions in Sweden over female circumcisions have failed after the victims withdrew, wanting to avoid conflict with their families. In this case, the girl is being supported by her mother, who has separated from the father.

According to the National Board of Health and Welfare, 28,000 women and girls in Sweden were born in or have ties to countries in which female circumcision is practised.

Female circumcision, or genital mutilation, is most common in Africa, but also occurs in a number of Middle Eastern countries. The practice is also known among immigrant groups in parts of Asia, the Americas and Europe.

The term female circumcision describes a number of practices. These include pricking the clitoris with needles, Clitoridotomy, which involves removing or splitting the clitoral hood and Clitoridectomy, in which the external part of the clitoris is partially or totally removed.

The most severe form of female circumcision, however, is Infibulation, in which the vulva is replaced with a wall of flesh between the pubis to the anus, except for a tiny opening to allow urine and menstrual blood to pass through. This is often carried out on young girls without anaesthetic, and is linked with major medical complications.