(AFP) – A woman went on trial in a United Kingdom (UK) court Wednesday as she is accused of helping in the genital mutilation of a three-year-old girl on a trip to Kenya.
Female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK and many other nations. It is also a criminal offence for UK nationals or permanent residents to perform or help to perform it overseas.
Prosecutor Deanna Heer told a jury at the Old Bailey court in central London that Amina Noor, 39, handed over the girl so she could undergo so-called female circumcision during the visit 17 years ago.
Noor, from Harrow in northwest London, faces a single charge — which she denies — of assisting a non-UK resident to mutilate female genitalia while abroad.
The jury heard that Noor, who was born in Somalia and came to the UK aged 16 where she was given British citizenship, later claimed she had not expected the girl to be subjected to the procedure.
“Not only was the procedure carried out upon (the girl)… but the defendant had been discussing precisely the kind of FGM (female genital mutilation) before she took (the girl) to that clinic,” Heer said.
The practice is common in some African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries and involves the partial or total removal of a young girl’s clitoris and labia.
The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is now aged 21 and a British citizen.
The risky procedure is often carried out under unsterile conditions and can lead to severe complications.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to the practice.
The maximum penalty is 14 years in prison.