Egyptian doctor, father of three carried out FGM under 'guise of coronavirus vaccine'
Egypt's prosecutor-general has brought criminal charges against a father for the genital mutilation of his three daughters, while likewise charging a physician who allegedly performed the illegal procedure.
"The doctor went to their (the girls) home under the guise that he would vaccinate them against the coronavirus," the prosecutor-general said in a Wednesday statement.
A forensic report revealed "the excision of ... reproductive organs".
Attempts to create a coronavirus vaccine have not yet moved beyond early trials.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been banned in Egypt since 2008, but the procedure remains rife in the Muslim majority country, with many believing it promotes women's chastity.
Investigators said the doctor had given the girls - all under the age of 18 - a general anaesthetic, according to the prosecutors' statement.
"They lost consciousness and when they woke up they were shocked to find their legs bound together and a sensation of pain in their genitals," the statement said.
The three minors notified their mother, who is divorced from their father.
Investigators spoke to the mother and also questioned the girls' aunt, who corroborated their account, according to the prosecution statement.
Read more: On International Day Against FGM, Egypt remains top offender
Since 2016, doctors found guilty of performing FGM in Egypt can face between five and seven years in jail.
But Reda el-Danbouki, executive director of the Cairo-based Women's Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness, said judges and police are still not taking the legislation seriously enough.
"It's really shocking that authorities such as judges and the police continue to treat FGM cases with extreme leniency here," he said in a statement on Thursday.
In January, Nada Hassan Abdel Maqsood, a 12-year-old girl, bled to death after forcibly undergoing FGM, sparking fury online and in the media.
Her parents and the doctor were referred to a criminal court in February.
But the doctor was "set free almost immediately and a trial date is now in doubt", Danbouki said.
A survey in 2015 by the United Nations children's agency UNICEF showed nearly 90 percent of Egyptian women and girls aged between 15 and 49 had been subjected to FGM.
UNICEF stressed the procedure is "a human rights violation and constitutes a form of violence against women and girls".