FGM Doctor Free on Bail

fem, Rumania, nagaraqla
Image Credit: Henry Ford Health System

DETROIT — The doctor indicted by federal prosecutors in Michigan for performing female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation (FGM) has been granted bail by a judge on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman granted Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, bail after she spent five months in prison according to The Detroit News.

The bail, set at $4.5 million was raised by 17 friends and family, according to Click on Detroit,  who placed their personal property as collateral for her bail. Bail for Nagarwala was initially denied by the federal judge who considered her a flight risk. The Detroit News reports Nagarwala was arrested after attempting to board a flight to Kenya.

Under house arrest, Nagarwala will be tagged with a GPS tracker, her bank accounts have been frozen, and her passport will be confiscated per The Detroit News.

As reported by Alpha News, Nagarwala was the first of several individuals to be arrested by federal authorities for cutting the genitalia of young girls in a clinic outside of Detroit, Michigan.

Two Minnesota girls approximately 7-years old have become the main focus of the case. Both girls were taken to the clinic in Michigan by their mothers for the illegal procedure. Haseena Halfal and Zainab Hariyanawala, the mothers of the Minnesota girls were indicted last week by federal prosecutors for conspiracy to defraud and female genital mutilation.

Prosecutors believe more than 100 girls could have visited the clinic for the female genital cutting procedure during a 12-year period.

According to the World Health Organization, female genital mutilation is identified as “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.”

Though it has no health or medical purpose, the practice is a popular tradition in eastern cultures.

Alpha News previously reported Minnesota has the third-largest at-risk population when it comes to female genital mutilation. The state, has one of the largest Somali populations in the United States. Somalia has the highest prevalence rate of female genital mutilation on the continent of Africa – with approximately 99 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 undergoing the procedure according to a UNICEF study in 2014.  

Nagarwala, who has long proclaimed her innocence, is expected to stand trial on October 10.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.