Target: Minister of Justice Judge Mohamed Ahmed Soliman
Goal: Enforce Egyptian ban on female genital mutilation and prosecute those responsible for the death of a 13-year-old girl who died after the procedure
In June 2013, 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea died after undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) at the behest of her father at a clinic in a village northeast of Cairo, Egypt. Some reports show that Soheir experienced “a sharp drop in blood pressure resulting from shock trauma.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM refers to “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” The Egyptian Ministry of Health is reportedly pushing for a charge of “medical negligence” instead of FGM and manslaughter. Urge the Minister of Justice to ensure that Egypt’s FGM laws are strictly enforced, and prosecute Soheir’s father and doctor on charges of FGM and manslaughter.
FGM, often performed on girls under 15, is a cultural tradition in many societies and is performed for varying reasons, such as making a woman’s genital region “clean” and “pure” or to lower her libido, thus “protecting” her from sexual deviancy. The WHO, of which Egypt is a member state, reports that FGM has no health benefits for girls, and can have serious long-term consequences, such as “severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.” FGM has been banned from being performed in Egyptian hospitals for years, but cultural tradition ensures that the traumatic procedures are still performed in many private clinics; the WHO recommends that “under no circumstances” should FGM be performed at medical establishments because this “gives the impression that the procedure is good for health, or at least that it is harmless,” a WHO report reads.
The rights of women and girls are threatened in an unstable post-2011 revolution Egypt. Islamist parliament members recently advocated for decriminalization of FGM in Parliament, and the Ministry of Health itself recommends a lesser charge of “medical negligence” in the case of Soheir’s death. The Minister of Justice must take a stand and ensure that Egypt’s laws and international health standards are enforced; Soheir’s father, who forced the procedure, and Dr. Raslan Fadl, who performed it, must face charges that accurately reflect their crimes.
Ask the Minister of Justice to ensure that Soheir’s father and doctor are charged with FGM and manslaughter in the case of her tragic death.
Dear Minister of Justice Judge Mohamed Ahmed Soliman,
Recently, 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea died after undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM). I urge you to ensure that the people responsible for forcing the procedure on Soheir are prosecuted for FGM and manslaughter.
FGM has no health benefits, and the procedure comes with serious health risks and long-term trauma. The World Health Organization recommends that “under no circumstances” should FGM circumcision be performed in medical establishments, yet many private clinics in Egypt continue the practice without fear of punishment.
The Ministry of Health is pushing to prosecute for “medical negligence,” a charge that does not reflect the severity of what happened to Soheir. Stand with women and girls worldwide and strictly enforce Egypt’s FGM ban; show those who continue to perform the procedure that there are serious consequences for continuing the traumatic practice.
[Your Name Here]
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