Saturday, November 21, 2015

SYDNEY: Father lied to police about daughter's cutting

The Guardian
October 15, 2015

Father in FGM trial tells court he lied to police about what he knew of ceremony

Father and mother were interviewed by police and then placed in a room with a listening device, the New South Wales supreme court hears

The mother of two girls who allegedly underwent female genital mutilation told her husband “just a little bit” when her husband asked if the ceremony involved cutting their clitorises, a court has heard.

The first trial of FGM in Australia is being heard in the New South Wales supreme court with the mother of the two alleged victims charged along with an older woman known as KM, who is accused of carrying out the FGM, and Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, a leader in the Dawoodi Bohra Shia Muslim community.

When the parents were initially interviewed by police in 2012 a listening device was placed in the waiting room and after he had talked to police, their father, known in court as A1 met his wife in the room.

“It took a long time, they asked many things, they ask me do you have any idea what they do in circumcision, I tell them I don’t know anything, if they ask you say you do not know … in us do they cut skin?” he asked her.

The mother responded: “No they just do little bit, just little.”

The father admitted in court he had not told police the truth when he said he did not know what khatna, the ceremony the girls took part in, involved.

“She explained to me it involved placing forceps in genitalia, and saying Qur’anic verses,” he told the court of what his wife told him khatna involved.

In previous evidence the father had said it involved “some sort of metal on on the private parts” and when asked by crown prosecutor Nanette Williams why he had changed evidence from “in” genitalia, to “on”, A1 said “I’m not sure where the forceps are placed, but it’s on the private parts somewhere”.

A1 also admitted he had not told the truth to the police when he said in 2012 he did not know what khatna involved.

“I knew what khatna was, I knew what my girls went through, I didn’t tell the truth to the police,” he said.

Asked by Williams if khatna involved an injury to genitalia, he responded: “not in my girls.”
The alleged FGM was allegedly carried out on the girls, known as C1 and C2, when they were each seven years old, between 2010 and 2012.

A conversation between A1 and C1 was recorded in 2012 in which C1 talked about being cut.
“You have no cut, we do not do cut, no we do not cut, we cannot cut, nothing was cut of yours, we cannot do the cut here,” her father responded.

When C1 said she had seen scissors during her khatna, her father said it was forceps that she saw, not scissors.

“Forceps used for cleaning purposes, for a check up,” he said.

The court has previously heard about the “Africa story”, a lie the mother and others had agreed to tell that part of the khatna that took place in Australia was a “check up” and if the girls had been cut it was in Africa.

The trial continues.

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