sri express

A medical doctor of Sri Lankan origin, who serves at the National Health Services of Whittington Hospital in North London, will be charged with allegedly performing a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) procedure. This will be the first-ever prosecution under the Female Genital Mutilation Act.

The practice was criminalized in 1985. Another man 40-year-old Hassan Mohamed will also be charged for encouraging and helping the doctor. 

Announcing the decision Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said, "The Crown Prosecution Service was asked to consider evidence in relation to this allegation of female genital mutilation by the Metropolitan Police Service after it was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital, in London, repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself.

"Having carefully considered all the available evidence, I have determined there is sufficient evidence and it would be in the public interest to prosecute Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena for an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act.

"I have also determined that Hassan Mohamed should face one charge of intentionally encouraging an offence of FGM, contrary to section 44(1) of the Serious Crime Act and a second charge of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring Dr. Dharmasena to commit an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act .

"Dr Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 15.  May I remind all those concerned that these individuals have a right to a fair trial and it is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online, which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.

"Anonymity for victims of FGM is something that should be considered. It is a very difficult injury to talk about. It is an abuse of their body and it is not a part of the body that people want to talk about in public."  

According to General Medical Council records, Dr. Dharmasena qualified from the University of London in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in surgery. However, he is not a specialist or a GP. 

Since 1985, FGM has been a criminal offence and in 2003 the maximum sentence was increased from five to 14 years in jail.

Commander Mak Chishty, Britain's top police officer in charge of FGM cases, said in a statement: "Female genital mutilation is a barbaric crime that has no place in modern day Britain. The police are committed to working closely with health services, schools, colleges, social services and third sector organizations which have an understanding of this form of abuse and can help us reach those who may be at risk.

"Prosecutions of those who continue this horrific and outdated practice should signal a warning to those who have committed or are considering inflicting female genital mutilation as well as anyone who assists them or stays quiet when they know this abuse been committed.

"We are pursuing offenders and working to bring them to justice so that we can protect victims – some of them painfully young - and stamp out this appalling crime.'

It is thought as many as 66,000 women in the UK have suffered FGM.

By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London


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