June 1, 2012
France jails Guinean couple for genital mutilationA French court Friday convicted a couple of Guinean origin of carrying out genital mutilation on their four daughters, sentencing the father to two years in prison and the mother to 18 months.
The court in the central city of Nevers convicted the couple, who arrived in France in the late 1980s, of "complicity in wilful violence" and sentenced the father to five years in prison and the mother to four years, with part of the sentences suspended.
The couple had been accused of carrying out the act, still practiced in some parts of Africa but illegal in France, on their two eldest daughters, now adults, and their two youngest, now aged 11 and 13.
Prosecutors had insisted on jail sentences for the couple, saying they were not looking for a "symbolic" conviction that would not include prison time.
The affair came to light in 2005 when the mutilation of the eldest girl was discovered in a Nevers hospital, where she was being operated on for appendicitis.
Female circumcision is still practised as an ancestral custom in parts of Africa despite awareness campaigns and increasingly tough legislation. The mutilation consists in a complete or partial cutting off of the clitoris and sometimes the lips of the vagina.