DUBLIN, Ireland - A 37-year old man and his 27-year old wife each been sentenced to around five years in prison after being found guilty of performing Female Genital Mutilation on their one-year old daughter, in the first conviction of it's kind in Ireland.
The pair had pleaded not guilty at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
The jury was unanimous in their verdict after deliberating for just three hours, after what was an 8-day trial.
Sheahan sentenced the father to five and a half years in prison.
His wife was sentenced to 4 years and nine months.
"Today's conviction and sentence represents the first of its kind in Ireland. It sends a strong and important message that Female Genital Mutilation, the mutilation of children and young girls, is not and will not be tolerated. It is a heinous and barbaric practice which is a criminal offence in Ireland," Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, Garda National Protective Services Bureau said Monday.
"Ireland has a long and proud history of embracing traditions and customs from abroad, however there can be no 'welcome' for any activity which brings harm to children."
"Our communities need to be vigilant and aware of this crime and anyone who suspects or believes a child is likely to be subject to Female Genital Mutilation either here or being brought outside the country for the purpose of Female Genital Mutilation, should contact their local Garda station, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or call the Child Abuse Reporting line on - 1800 555 222," the detecive chief superintendent said.
Female Genital Mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. In many settings, health care providers perform Female Genital Mutilation due to the erroneous belief that the procedure is safer when medicalized. WHO strongly urges health professionals not to perform such procedures.
Female Genital Mutilation is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women, WHO says. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
Female Genital Mutilation is a criminal offence in Ireland.