Egypt: Enforce FGM law & properly investigate Soheir al-Batea’s death

20 JUNE 2014 UPDATE: During the 19 June court session, the Attorney General presented a strong statement upholding that Soheir's father and Dr. Fadl had illegally subjected Soheir to FGM. The trial has been adjourned until 10 July when a decision is expected to be rendered. Please check back in July for updates.

13 MARCH 2014 Update: Justice—Soheir’s abusers will stand trial!

Following the investigation by the Attorney General, Dr. Fadl and Soheir’s father will face criminal charges for subjecting her to FGM and her subsequent death. This is the first prosecution for FGM in Egypt since it was banned in 2008, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your help! The Attorney General has stated that it was due to the concern and attention of both governmental and international organizations that his office decided to refer the case to the criminal court. Equality Now and our partners in Egypt welcome this positive step and will continue to monitor the court proceedings to make sure that those responsible for Soheir’s mutilation and death are held accountable.

Thank you for your supporting our efforts to end FGM!

5 FEBRUARY 2014 UPDATE: Great News! Our combined efforts to obtain justice for 13-year-old Soheir, who died in 2013 after being subjected to FGM, are working. On 5 February 2014, Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population informed Equality Now that its committee reviewed Soheir’s death and decided that Dr. Fadl’s clinic will be closed pending further investigation by the Attorney General. The Egyptian Medical Syndicate will also conduct a professional ethics investigation into Dr. Fadl’s actions.

Equality Now will continue to work with our local Egyptian partners to monitor these investigations to ensure that they are properly conducted and that those responsible for Soheir's mutilation and death are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As medicalization of FGM is on the rise in Egypt, please continue to keep up the pressure on officials to effectively enforce Egypt’s anti-FGM law and fully prosecute all violations.

Thank you for your support and continued advocacy. We will continue to update you as Soheir’s case develops.

Equality Now’s Suad Abu-Dayyeh at the home of Soheir al-Batea
In July 2013 Equality Now issued Action 38.3 calling for enforcement of the anti-FGM law and justice in the case of 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea who died after Dr. Raslan Fadl allegedly performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on her at her father’s request in a clinic north-east of Cairo. Dr. Fadl was interrogated by prosecutors and released on bail pending investigation.

The long-delayed forensic report lists Soheir’s cause of death as an allergic reaction to penicillin and makes no mention of FGM, despite her father’s initial statement to the police that she had been brought to the clinic to be subjected to the procedure. We also understand that Dr. Fadl paid Soheir’s family 50,000 Egyptian Pounds ($7,257 USD) and they no longer want to pursue the case. Furthermore, Soheir’s father has changed his statement to match Dr. Fadl’s statement that Soheir suffered from genital warts and the family brought her to the doctor to treat them. Meanwhile, Dr Fadl continues to practice in his clinic and reportedly performs FGM procedures daily in clear violation of the 2008 law banning the practice.

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) and the Egyptian Coalition for Children’s Rights (ECCR) in continuing to call on the government of Egypt to live up to its domestic and international obligations by:

  • Effectively enforcing its FGM law by properly investigating and fully prosecuting violations and in particular ensuring that Soheir’s death is properly investigated including by arranging for medical experts to review the forensic report
  • Ensuring that Dr. Fadl is thoroughly investigated and held accountable for all crimes he is found to have committed
  • Supporting and enhancing community education to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and acknowledging FGM as a human rights violation with harmful consequences
  • Ensuring that health care providers are given comprehensive education and training on the health and human rights implications of FGM and refrain from performing any form of the practice

Interim President Adly Mansour

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb

Minister of Justice Mr. Nayer Adel-Monei Othman

Minister of Health & Population Adel El-Adawi

Attorney General Mr. Hisham Barakat