Raslan Fadl was the first ever doctor to be convicted for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Egypt. The practice has been banned and criminalized in the country, but a number of doctors still practice it secretly. Raslan in his own case had initially been acquitted for the manslaughter of 13-year-old Sohair al-Bataa who had died after an FGM procedure Raslan had carried out.
The judgement had been deemed unfair and not in keeping with the facts of the case and Raslan had boldly spoken out against the human rights activists who had pursued the case. He claimed that he had operated on Sohair to remove a wart and not for the sake of mutilation. A turn in fortunes in November 2015, saw the court convicting him again, and this time around, he was found guilty of both causing Sohair’s death and mutilating her.
Raslan was sentenced to two years in jail for manslaughter and a further three months for the FGM operation. His clinic was ordered to be shut down for a year and the girl’s father on his end was given a suspended three-month sentence for allowing his daughter to be mutilated.
FGM is a widespread practice in Egypt, according to the UN, an estimated 91% of married Egyptian women between 15 and 49 – across both Muslim and Christian communities – have undergone the procedure. The hope was that Raslan’s case would dissuade doctors from attempting the practice despite the lucrative income attached to it, but recent reports claimed that Raslan was not jailed but was still actually practicing.
Another court in Egypt has however revoked his medical license, a judgement that will spell a small but important victory for the anti-FGM campaign. The revoking of his license comes just days after the Egyptian health ministry set up an initiative called Doctors against FGM which is aimed at encouraging medical practitioners towards halting the practice.