(WWJ) A Detroit physician and his wife were arrested Friday morning and charged for their alleged participation in a conspiracy that involved performing female genital mutilations on young women.
Fakhruddin Attar, M.D., 53, and his wife, Farida Attar 50, both of Livonia, are charged with conspiring to perform female genital mutilations on minor girls out of Fakhruddin Attar’s medical clinic in Livonia. Female genital mutilation involves removing external female genitalia partially or in full.
Between 100 million and 140 million women and girls are thought to be living with the consequences of female genital mutilation, according to the World Health Organisation. It is common in parts of Africa and the Middle East.
According to the complaint, some of the minor victims traveled from other states to have the procedure performed. The complaint alleges that the FGM procedure was performed on girls who were approximately six to eight years old.
Both defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit this afternoon.
The defendants are alleged to have conspired with Jumana Nagarwala, M.D., who was already arrested in Detroit on April 12, and ordered detained on April 17, 2017, pending trial. There were fears she was going to flee the country after she was charged.
Nagarwala, Fakhruddin Attar and Farida Attar are believed to be the first people charged under 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes FGM.
A lawyer for Nagarwala is defending her against the charges, saying that she agrees female genital mutilation is inappropriate. Attorney Shannon Smith says Nagarwala removed only mucous from two Minnesota girls in February and then handed the gauze to the family for burial as part of a religious ceremony.
The feds counter that she’s a threat to the public.
And investigators are concerned there could be more victims. The FBI’s Detroit Field Division has set up a tip line for anyone who has information pertaining to the illegal practice of FGM or Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Fakhruddin Attar or Farida Attar at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984). To submit an e-tip, please visit FBI.GOV/FGM.