Tuesday, January 28, 2020 10:05 pm
By Nehru Odeh
A 37- year- old man and his 27- year- old wife have been jailed in Dublin, Ireland over the mutilation of their one- year- old daughter’s genitals. The husband received five and a half years jail term, while the wife got four years and nine months after a jury deliberated for three hours before giving a unanimous verdict. The conviction and sentencing is the first of its kind in Ireland.
The couple, both African born, committed the act in September, 2016 and have lived in Ireland since 2008. They were not named at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to protect the identity of the child. The husband was under a deportation order.
The man and his wife pleaded not guilty to carrying out the act .But medical evidence showed that the head and glans of the one-year-old child’s clitoris had been cut off. When the child bled profusely the father took her to a nearby hospital and claimed she had been injured by falling on a toy.
However, Dr. Sinead Harty testified during the trial that the injury sustained was not consistent with falling on a toy. The child had suffered tremendous pain during the procedure. The practice in Ireland is outlawed but estimates that 3,000 young girls a year are subjected to it have been made by experts.
Colman Fitzgerald the lawyer defending the father said the mutilation carried out was less serious than other kinds and the husband had immediately brought the girl to a hospital. While Patrick Gageby, the lawyer defending the mother, stated that his client was a married woman with three young children all of them well cared for.
Speaking on Monday, 27 January 2020, after the sentences were handed down, Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, Garda National Protective Services Bureau, said: “Today’s conviction and sentence represents the first of its kind in Ireland. It sends a strong and important message that female genital mutilation, the mutilation of children and young girls, is not and will not be tolerated. It is a heinous and barbaric practice which is a criminal offence in Ireland.