DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit-area doctor at the center of a female genital mutilation case has been released on bond after seven months.
Friends of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala pledged $4.5 million if she runs off before trial in 2018. She must wear an electronic tether after her release Tuesday.
Defense attorney Shannon Smith says it will be easier to prepare for trial now that Nagarwala is out of jail. She is among eight people charged in the federal case.
The government is accusing Nagarwala of performing genital mutilation on six girls at a Livonia clinic. She denies any crime and says she performed a religious custom on girls from her Muslim sect, the Dawoodi Bohra.
Through her attorney, Nagarwala said she only “removed mucous” from the children and then handed the gauze to the family for burial.
This is believed to be the first case brought under a federal law which criminalizes female genital mutilation, which typically involves the cutting of a girl’s genitals, often for cultural or religious reasons.
[View a copy of the indictment. Note: Contains graphic language/details]
Eight people have been charged, including two Minnesota mothers and the owner of a Livonia clinic where the alleged procedures occurred after hours. Nagarwala worked in the emergency room at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, but none of the alleged illegal acts took place there.
More than 100 million women and girls are believed to be living with the consequences of female genital mutilation, according to the World Health Organisation. WHO calls the practice, which is common in parts of Africa and the Middle East, “an international recognized violation of human rights of girls and women” that has no known health benefits.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.