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2 more charged in Michigan genital mutilation investigation

2 more charged in Michigan genital mutilation investigation

Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, of Livonia, were both arrested and have been charged with conspiring to perform female genital mutilations on minor girls out of Dr. Attar's medical clinic in Livonia.

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, conspired with another doctor, Jumana Nagarwala, to perform the illegal procedures at Attar's clinic in Livonia, the Justice Department said. Female genital mutilation involves removing external female genitalia partially or in full. They're accused of conspiring with Jumana Nagarwala, another MI physician who was arrested in Detroit on April 12.

Fakhruddin Attar and Farida Attar are scheduled to appear in Detroit federal court Friday afternoon.

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According to the complaint, some of the minor victims traveled from other states to have the procedure performed. Authorities say Dr. Attar's wife is employed at Burhani Medical Clinic as an office manager.

Nagarwala has claimed through her lawyer that she did not engage in any actual cutting, but rather that she removed a membrane from the genital area using a "scraper" and gave it to the parents to bury in the ground as part of a religious custom. Between 100 and 140 million women and girls worldwide are thought to have undergone such a procedure, which is internationally denounced as a violation of human rights, according to the United Nations.

The Attars and Nagarwala belong to a sect called Dawoodi Bohra. The records showed that Nagarwala made a series of phone calls to the family of a 7-year-old girl living in Minnesota. She also told investigators that her parents instructed her not to talk about the procedure because it was a secret.

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According to the court filing, the girl's family members took her and another girl to Detroit for what they called a "special girls' trip". She was given a medical exam, where the doctor noted several abnormalities and scar tissue on her genitalia. During an interview last week, Nargawala said she had no knowledge and no involvement of FGM being performed in her community.

The case marks the first time FGM has been prosecuted under federal law.

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