DETROIT — A federal judge has tossed out the case against a Metro Detroit area doctor facing charges for female genital mutilation (FGM).
Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was the first person in the nation to face charges for FGM.
FGM is described in many ways, including as a partial or total removal of the clitoris for nonmedical purposes.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman released his ruling, saying that the prosecution was vindictive and even sought additional charges against the doctor based on previous success in having other charges dismissed. Friedman said this was a basic violation of due process.
The case was filed in April 2017 when Nagarwala was arrested and charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of a Livonia medical office.
The criminal complaint had stated that Nagarwala performed the procedure on girls between the ages of 6- and 8-years-old and that some members of a religion across the world have the procedure done to reduce sexual pleasure and promiscuity.
Friedman stated in his ruling that the prosecution attempted to bring the same case up for charges on five different indictments, all stemming from the same date of April 2017. The first three times charges were filed, the government accused the defendants of conspiring to make false statements, but in the final indictment the charge was amended to conspiring to commit FGM.
“Four years into the case, the government has now recharacterized this charge, claiming that defendants conspired to make false statements about whether FGM was being carried out within their community,” Friedman wrote. “This new charge could have been brought at the inception of the case, but it was not brought until after defendants succeeded in having the FGM.”
Nagarwala worked as an emergency room doctor at Henry Ford Hospital prior to her arrest and was fired by the hospital.
Investigators believe that this had been going on for years, with victims out of state and in Metro Detroit.