Girls mutilator gets 8 years

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The Independent Online
A COURT convicted a Malian of the genital mutilation of 48 girls and sentenced her to eight years in prison, the harshest sentence imposed in France for ritual circumcision.

The mother of one of the girls was also sentenced to two years, to the distress of her daughter, who made the trial possible. Mariatou Koita, 22, a student, was the first woman to come forward in France and make a formal complaint about her circumcision as a child. Although she has been disowned by her parents, she said after the verdict she was saddened that her mother had been singled out for a tougher sentence than other parents.

Twenty-one other mothers and three fathers were convicted of being accessories to mutilation but their sentences were suspended after the recommendations of the public prosecutor.

The jury rejected his advice in the case of Dienaba Koita, Mariatou's mother who made violent verbal attacks on her daughter at the trial.

The professional circumciser, Hawa Greou, was given eight years, five of which she served in custody before the case came to court. Female circumcision - amputation of the clitoris - is an ancient ritual in Mali, Gabon and other African countries but is illegal in France.

The prosecutor, recommending jail for Greou and suspended sentences for the others, said the state was not seeking vengeance. It wanted a clear condemnation of the "process of circumcision" and exemplary sentences, which would help to stamp it out in immigrant communities.

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