Three Indicted for Female Genital Mutilation
Two Detroit doctors and one co-conspirator were charged in an indictment today for their alleged participation in a scheme to perform female genital mutilation (FGM) on minors, to transport these minors across state lines, and to obstruct justice.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Acting Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Detroit Field Office made the announcement.
Jumana Nagarwala, M.D., 44, of Northville, Michigan, Fakhruddin Attar, M.D., 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, both of Livonia, Michigan, are charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of Fakrhuddin Attar’s medical office in Livonia, Michigan. According to the indictment, some of the minor victims allegedly traveled interstate to have Nagarwala perform the procedure. The indictment alleges that Nagarwala performed FGM on girls who were approximately six to eight years old. All three are also charged with a conspiracy to obstruct the federal investigation, and Nagarwala and Fakhruddin Attar are charged with giving false statements to a federal agent. This is believed to be the first case brought under 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes FGM.
“Female Genital Mutilation has serious implications for the health and well-being of girls and women,” stated Acting United States Attorney Daniel Lemisch. “This brutal practice is conducted on girls for one reason, to control them as women. FGM will not be tolerated in the United States. The federal government is continuing this investigation to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”
"Today's indictments represent the continued commitment of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to protect the most vulnerable of victims, our children, from those that would do them harm. The practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) cannot be defended in any context and we will identify and bring those responsible for conducting or participating in this disturbing crime to justice", said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. "I would urge anyone who has information about those involved in FGM or can assist with identifying victims to report it to the FBI or HSI. Information can be reported by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or by sending an e-TIP to FBI.GOV/FGM".
"As the first federal indictment in the U.S., these charges will hopefully deal a critical blow to stamping out this inhumane practice in the United States and around the world," said Francis. "HSI and our partners are committed to the difficult but necessary work of supporting victims and bringing everyone involved in this practice to justice."
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI’s Detroit Division and HSI investigated the case with support of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan and the FBI’s International Human Rights Unit, Criminal Investigative Division. Deputy Chief Sara Woodward of the General Crimes Unit, Eastern District of Michigan and Fraud Section Assistant Chief Nick Surmacz and Trial Attorneys Amy Markopoulos and Malisa Dubal are prosecuting the case