Australian couple charged with female genital mutilation

Police in Brisbane (file image) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police said the FGM charges could lead to lengthy jail terms

Two Australians have been charged over the female genital mutilation (FGM) of two girls aged nine and 12.

Police allege the two girls were taken from Queensland to Africa in April for the procedure.

A man, 53, and woman, 41, will face court in Beenleigh later this month, on two counts each of removing a child from the state to undergo FGM.

FGM is when a girl's genitals are partly or wholly removed for non-medical reasons.

It usually carried out for a number of cultural, religious and social reasons, and is associated with ideals of femininity and modesty in some societies.

"The practice of female genital mutilation and the removal of a child from the state for female genital mutilation are serious criminal offences," Det Insp Christopher Jory said on Wednesday.

He said the offences carried penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment.

Types of FGM

  • Clitoridectomy - partial or total removal of the clitoris
  • Excision - removal of the clitoris and inner labia (lips), with or without the outer labia
  • Infibulation - cutting, removing and sewing up the genitalia
  • Any other type of intentional damage to the female genitalia (burning, scraping et cetera)

Last month, two women were found guilty of carrying out FGM on two young girls, in Australia's first FGM trial.

The incidents took place in separate incidents in 2009 and 2012 in Wollongong, New South Wales when the girls were each about seven years old.

One man was found guilty of covering up the acts.

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