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UN Population Conference: Operation on TV enrages Egypt

POLICE in Cairo yesterday charged a part-time CNN television researcher with 'distorting the image of Egypt' after locating the family of a 10-year-old girl whose brutal circumcision was taped by the American television network and broadcast worldwide on Wednesday last week.

The father of 10-year-old Nagla - her family name was not revealed by CNN - was arrested along with the barber who cut Nagla's genitals with a razor blade and an assistant who taped apart the young girl's legs during the operation. The assistant was identified as a plumber.

The news report of Nagla's circumcision was recorded two weeks ago and aired at least three times last week. Her parents could be seen smiling as Nagla shrieked before part of her clitoris was tied to her arm in a tradition which is as cruel as it is illegal. The practice of female circumcision goes back to Pharaonic times and the government's campaign against the practice has had little effect in the villages and city slums of Egypt.

Nevin Hamdan, a graduate of the American University of Cairo school of journalism and a teacher at the college, was arrested on Sunday afternoon and forced to spend the night in the Darb al-Ahmar prison in central Cairo but was released yesterday morning after being charged. CNN called lawyers to defend their researcher, a mother of two, although the network was later told by a police official that Ms Hamdan's detention had been the result of 'a misunderstanding'. Nagla was taken for medical examination. Her father is on bail of 20 Egyptian pounds ( pounds 4).

The report was condemned by the daily Al Akhbar which called it a 'disgusting documentary' and suggested that CNN was 'purposefully distorting Egypt's image' after 'the unlimited hospitality shown by the Ministry of Tourism to actress Jane Fonda, wife of CNN owner Ted Turner.'

From hope to betrayal, page 12