Sweden set for first circumcision law trial

A 50-year-old man is the first person to be charged in Sweden on suspicions of performing illegal circumcisions.

Sweden set for first circumcision law trial
Lawyer Leif Silbersky at Göta court of appeal, September

The man, an Egyptian citizen, is believed to have circumcised nine boys without a licence from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

Sweden’s law on circumcising boys hasn’t been tested in court since it came into force nine years ago.

“This is the first time. We haven’t reported any other case to the police,” the health board’s Torsten Mossberg told TT.

The man is also charged with several cases of assault. During the trial, a film will be shown to support allegations that a boy from Tierp in eastern Sweden wasn’t sufficiently anesthetized during the procedure.

According to the indictment, two brothers from the Stockholm suburb of Botkyrka suffered tissue damage, pain, and loss of circulation from a bandage which was used as a tourniquet.

The man has denied committing any crimes.

The 50-year-old previously had a licence, but the health board revoked it because of doubts about his abilities.

“My client feels like this happened for no reason,” the man’s defence attorney, Leif Silbersky, told TT.

According to the law, only people with a special licence issued by the health board can perform circumcisions for non-medical reasons, and only on children younger than two-months old. Doctors can also carry out the procedure, including on older children.

The health board doesn’t think Sweden’s law works, estimating that only one third of the roughly 3,000 boys circumcised for religious reasons in Sweden each year have the procedure performed by people with authorisation.

The remaining circumcisions are carried out by people who lack qualifications, according to the agency.

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