Woman jailed for seven years after handing over British toddler for FGM in Kenya

A woman convicted of handing over a three-year-old British girl for female genital mutilation (FGM) during a trip to Kenya in a legal first has been jailed for seven years.

Amina Noor, 40, from Harrow, north-west London, was found guilty last year of assisting a non-UK person to carry out the procedure overseas 18 years ago.

She became the first person to be convicted of taking someone to another country for FGM.

Noor is also only the second in the UK to be convicted under the FGM Act of 2003.

The other successful prosecution was in 2019 when a Ugandan woman from Walthamstow, east London, was jailed for 11 years for cutting a three-year-old girl.

The judge said he hoped the victim’s “bravery” would encourage others to come forward to report incidents.

He went on: “Female genital mutilation is a vile offence resulting in the violation and permanent injury to a woman’s body, with lifelong adverse consequences.

“Those that perform, or who aid and abet the performance of, such mutilation need to know that very substantial sentences of imprisonment will be the norm, as appropriate punishment, and to deter others from such vile practices.”

In an impact statement read to the court, the victim said she is “not angry” with Noor.

She said: “I know that had I been in her position with the failure of education, with the pressure from people I loved most, I would also have gone through with it.”

Noor, at age 22, travelled to the east African country with the toddler in 2006 and took her to a private house where she was subjected to FGM, also known as female circumcision or cutting.

Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey in central London
Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey in central London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The crime only came to light years later when the girl was 16 and confided in her English teacher at school.

When spoken to, the defendant said she thought the procedure was just an injection and afterwards the girl was “happy and able to run around and play”, the court heard.

But when examined in 2019, it emerged that the girl’s clitoris had been completely removed.

Noor appeared “shocked and upset” and said that was not what she thought was going to happen.

According to an initial account, Noor described going with another woman to a “clinic” where the girl was called into a room for a procedure.

The defendant said she was invited in but refused because she was “scared and worried”.

Afterwards, the girl appeared quiet and cried the whole night and complained of pain, according to the account.

Jurors were told the defendant was born in Somalia and moved to Kenya at the age of eight during the civil war in her home country.

The defendant described what had been done to the girl as “Sunnah”, meaning “tradition” or “way” in Arabic, and said it was a practice that had gone on for cultural reasons for many years.

The court was told that 94% of females of Somali origin living in Kenya undergo the procedure, according to United Nations figures.

Giving evidence in her trial, Noor said she was threatened with being “cursed” and “disowned” within her community if she did not take part.

She told jurors the threat gave her “pain”, adding: “That was a pressure I had no power to do anything about.”

The victim, who is now aged 21, cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey following the sentencing, Met Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy told reporters: “I hope today’s sentence acts as a real deterrent to those who choose to harm children in this way.

“More importantly, I hope that we can use this result as an opportunity to continue to raise awareness of this topic, ensuring victims know that there is support and help out there.”

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