A Ugandan origin woman living in Britain has been jailed for 11 years after her conviction under Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) laws.
The 37-year-old woman became only the first person to be convicted under the UK’s anti-FGM laws in February, despite the nation seeing tens of thousands of cases of this kind of abuse, and the laws having been on the statute books for 34 years.
The sentence passed at the Old Bailey central criminal court in London Friday was of 11 years, however under the British penal system, the time actually served behind bars is typically significantly less.
Britain’s BBC state media network reported from the court comments of the judge who said the mutilation, which the perpetrator had originally claimed had been caused by the child falling while reaching for a biscuit, was a “barbaric and sickening crime.”
FGM Trial: African Couple Cast Black Magic Spells on Police, Doctors, Court Hears https://t.co/BxXtnflYL1
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 17, 2019
The victim has recovered, but the prosecution said she would suffer from long-term psychological damage as well as “reduced sexual sensation” as an adult.
The Ugandan woman and her Ghanian partner were tried over the mutilation of a three-year-old girl’s genitals, their daughter, abuse which took place in 2017. Neither partner were named in the trial, common in British law when a child is involved in the case.
A remarkable aspect of the case was the involvement of apparent voodoo spells and curses, which it is claimed were aimed at both the victim, police, and social services. Images of the woman’s home released by police show lime fruits prepared with written messages and evidence found by police included whole ox tongues wrapped in wire and penetrated by nails and screws. The prosecution said these items were evidence of the practice of witchcraft.
They said during the trial: “…40 limes were found and other fruit which when opened contained pieces of paper with names on them… The names embedded included both police officers involved in the investigation of the case, the social worker, her own son and the then director of public prosecutions.
“These people were to ‘shut up’ and ‘freeze their mouths’. There was a jar with a picture of a social worker in pepper found hidden behind the toilet in the bathroom. Another spell was hidden under the bed.”
Female Genital Mutilation: Five Lessons U.S. Lawmakers Can Learn from Europe https://t.co/gNL9DEd0w3
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 22, 2018
Messages embedded in the frozen limes included: “I freeze your mouth, don’t ever talk about me, shut up shut up shut up… To everyone who I don’t know who talk about I have freezed u mouths.”
The United Kingdom has had laws criminalising FGM since 1985, but until this year prosecutors had never secured a conviction, despite the high volume of girls mutilated — often while travelling abroad with family. Three other cases brought to court have all ended in acquittal.
Breitbart London reported in 2018 that around 4,500 new cases of FGM had been recorded in the previous year, the equivalent of more than one every two hours.
Over 2018, the number of FGM cases coming to the attention of the British authorities doubled.