Federal prosecutors have arrested and charged another doctor and his wife in connection to the female genital mutilation of young girls.
Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife Farida Attar, 50, are accused of Conspiracy to Commit Female Genital Mutilation and Aiding and Abetting Female Genital Mutilation. The two were arrested Friday morning and will be in in federal court at 1 p.m.
The illegal procedures allegedly took place at Dr. Fakhruddin Attar's Livonia clinic, which was raided Friday morning.
The charges were announced after a Henry Ford Hospital emergency room doctor was arrested and charged in connection to performing the illegal practice. Dr. Attar and his wife are accused of conspiring with Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, of Northville. Nagarwala was arrested on April 12.
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According to the latest criminal complaint, Dr. Attar, his wife and Dr. Nagarwala conspired to perform the procedure on girls ages six to eight years old at a medical clinic in Livonia.
VIEW THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT BELOW:
Some of the children were brought from out of state for the illegal procedure. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is considered the complete removal or partial removal of the clitoris, known as a clitoridectomy. FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of women and girls.
Some consider FGM as a religious and cultural practice. The purpose of this illegal practice is to suppress female sexuality in order to reduce sexual pleasure.
In the criminal affidavit, Nagarwala performed FGM on girls who were approximately 7 years old at the time at a clinic in Livonia.
The investigation revealed that in one particular case, a 7-year-old was brought by her family from Minnesota. An investigation into phone records revealed their location. The child was interviewed on April 10. She stated that she was brought to Detroit for "special girls trip."
The child victim also stated that she said she had to go to the doctor "to get the germs out." Upon a medical exam on April 11, a doctor determined that the child's genitals had been altered or removed. The child identified Dr. Nagarwala as the doctor who performed the procedure.
The affidavit also alleges that there are Michigan victims as well.
“According to the complaint, despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States. The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law,” stated Acting United States Attorney Daniel Lemisch.
“The allegations detailed in today’s criminal complaint are disturbing. The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners, are committed to doing whatever necessary to bring an end to this barbaric practice and to ensure no additional children fall victim to this procedure”, said Special Agent in Charge David Gelios.
“The allegations against the defendant in this investigation are made even more deplorable, given the defendant’s position as a trusted medical professional in the community,” said Francis. “My sincere hope is that these charges will give support to those who have allegedly suffered both physically and emotionally.
The FBI believes there could be more victims. They have set up a tip line for anyone who has any information pertaining to the illegal practices of FGM or Nagarwala. Please call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5984) or file an e-tip at FBI.gov/FGM.
Henry Ford issued the following statement:
The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility. We would never support or condone anything related to this practice. The doctor has immediately been placed on administrative leave.
State Joseph Mercy Health System has issued the following statement:
St. Mary Mercy Livonia can confirm that Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, an internal medicine physician in private practice, is a medical staff member at our hospital. We have just been made aware that Dr. Attar was arrested and charged in connection with the genital mutilation practices as it relates to activities at Burhani Medical Clinic, and his clinical privileges at the hospital have been suspended. He does not have any surgical privileges nor performed any surgical procedures at St. Mary Mercy, and our hospital has no affiliation with the Burhani Medical Clinic. The U.S. prosecutor's office has confirmed to us that there are no allegations of any activity involving St. Mary Mercy hospital in any way. St. Mary Mercy does not under any circumstance condone the practice of genital mutilation.