(WXYZ) — A federal judge in Detroit has dismissed the indictment in the first of its kind case involving female genital mutilation.
Judge Bernard Friedman dismissed the fourth superseding indictment prosecutors had filed in the case, ruling that it amounted to a vindictive prosecution. The decision effectively ends the case.
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was accused of performing genital mutilation on nine girls at a suburban Detroit clinic. She denies any crime and says she performed a religious custom. The girls were from Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota.
She and three others were charged in April 2017 under a Female Genital Mutilation statute passed by Congress. Judge Friedman dismissed those charges in 2018 after ruling the statute was unconstitutional. Friedman ruled that Congress did not have the power to enact a federal law that banned female genital mutilation in the United States.
The ruling came after Friedman also dismissed a "conspiracy to transport minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity". That was the only count that could have lead to life in prison for both Nagarwala and Dr. Fakhruddin Attar.
In February 2017, Nagarwala allegedly performed a procedure on two 7-year-old girls at a clinic in Livonia. According to court documents, they were brought there by their mothers.
in the criminal affidavit, the 7-year-old girl was told she was brought to Detroit for a "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.
You can read the order dismissing the indictment below: