Carrying out female genital mutilation has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985, but until now there has been no prosecution. FGM has recently been put under the spotlight as activists stepped up their campaign against it, while education secretary Michael Gove wrote to all head teachers including guidance on FGM after a petition called for education to be put at the forefront of tackling the practice.
Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed have appeared in court for the first female genital mutilation prosecution in the UK. This landmark case sees the charges bought under the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003).
Dr Dhanuson is accused of carrying out the procedure on a woman after she gave birth in November 2012. It is alleged that he repaired a previous female genital mutilation carried out on the patient. It is also claimed that he had been encouraged and helped by Mohamed.
Both suspects will plead not guilty and were granted unconditional bail, and are due to next appear in court on the 2nd May at Southwark crown court.
Female genital mutilation is estimated to affect 66,000 women in the UK, with up to 24,000 girls under 15 believed to be at risk.