THE Burton family of an asylum seeker who fled to England to escape being forced to carry out female genital mutilation (FGM) has welcomed the first UK prosecutions today.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, of Ilford, east London, will be prosecuted for an alleged FGM offence while working at the Whittington Hospital, in London.
Hasan Mohamed, 40, of Holloway, north London, faces a charge of intentionally encouraging FGM.
Maimuna Jawo recently spoke to Burton’s Soroptimist group about life in Gambia, forced to carry out genital mutilation on young girls, even her own daughter, and the threats she has faced since fleeing the African country.
Maimuna’s sister-in-law, Marj Jawo, Winshill resident and a member of the Burton Soroptimists, welcomed the latest news but said it must be approached with caution.
She said: “FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 but there have never been any prosecutions because the problem has been getting people to come forward. But now different organisations are talking to each other and it is on a roll.
“I hope that (these prosecutions) will unlock the box that has been shut for so long but very often we have these laws and then people are getting prosecuted and it goes even more underground.”
FGM includes procedures that alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons
Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility, complications in childbirth and increased risk of death for newborns.
Despite having to leave her five children in Gambian, Maimuna is seeking asylum in the UK and she knows she will be forced to carry out mutilations if she is returned to her own country.
Dr Dharmasena and Mr Mohamed will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 15.