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SWITZERLAND: Parents Convicted of Genital Mutilation

The sentences to the parents of the girl, now aged 14, were read out in a Zurich court on Thursday. The judge's ruling was in line with what prosecutors had requested and was the first time anyone has been convicted for carrying out genital mutilation in Switzerland.

The parents had claimed they were unaware that female genital mutilation sometimes referred to as female circumcision was illegal in Switzerland.

They had been charged with grievous bodily harm, a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison.

The court heard that imprisoning the parents would have broken up the family, which the parents say is now better integrated.

The family's two younger daughters have not been subjected to the practice, something the parents say was part of their Muslim religion.

Earlier in June, a court handed down a six-month suspended prison sentence to a 50-year-old woman who had sent her 13-year-old half-sister to Somalia to be circumcised.

There are around 7,000 girls or women, mainly from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, living in Switzerland who have been or are at risk of being submitted to genital mutilation.

SOURCE: swissinfo.ch

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DATE: 09/07/2008

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