Circumcision results in prison


According to the customs of her African ancestors, Teneng Jahate
was merely a dutiful mother.  But a French court, in a landmark
judgement, sentenced her to prison last week for arranging the
circumcision of her two eldest daughters.

Jahate, a Gambian living in France since 1983, was sentenced to
one year in prison, plus a four-year suspended term, for hiring a
midwife to circumcise the girls in 1987, when they were 1 and 2.

The procedure entails slicing off the clitoris and surrounding
tissue, and is performed without anesthesia.  Critics call it
genital mutilation and a way for men to curb a woman's sexual
pleasure.  French law classifies it as a form of child abuse so
severe that it could draw a maximum life sentence.

The sentence was a milestone in France's battle to stop the
practice among its large African immigrant population.

Female circumcision is practiced widely in countries such as
Somalia, Mali, Senegal, Sudan and Ivory Coast.

The Arizona Republic newspaper
Tuesday, January 12, 1993

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