DISGRACEFUL: The doctor and father of a 13-year-old girl who died after undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) have been acquitted in Egypt.

Doctor Raslan Fadl was cleared of all charges alongside the father of Suhair al-Bataa, a lawyer in the case said. The practice of FGM was banned in Egypt in 2008 but is still widespread. More than 90% of Egyptian women aged under 50 have experienced it, according to government statistics.

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BBC  The removal of all or part of the external genitalia is done in the name of promoting chastity. Some parents see it as a religious duty in spite of a  ruling against it. Now-ousted president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, tried, while he was in office, to have FGM mandated for every girl and enforced by the government. Current president al-Sisi has been trying to have the ban enforced but because so many of the FGM procedures are not done by doctors, it is very difficult.

Speaking to the BBC earlier this year, the dead girl’s relatives defended the practice of FGM, and insisted no-one was to blame for her death.

Campaigners against FGM – in Egypt and abroad – hoped this prosecution would serve as a deterrent. They pushed hard to get the authorities to bring the case, and hoped to see jail terms handed down. The legislation banning FGM in Egypt allows for sentences of up to two years. After both defendants were acquitted, activists said the case would put more girls at risk.

Egyptian Muslim woman explains why they mutilate their daughters’ genitals.

Female Circumcision of Egyptian Muslim women has been adopted and promoted by various groups within Islam. The practice of circumcision in Islam comes from the Hadith, Shariah law, and the consensus of Islamic communities.