Mother charged in Michigan female genital mutilation case wants tether removed

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WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. - A mother who is charged with subjecting her daughter to female genital mutation procedures has requested that her GPS tether be removed, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

MORE: Female genital mutilation case: 2 Oakland County women now charged

Fatema Dahodwala, 31, and her legal counsel asked that the ankle tether be removed because she is not a flight risk, the court filing showed. The documents stated that the tether should be removed because she does not use alcohol or drugs, and she does not have a history of mental illness.

According to the documents, "Ms. Dahodwala has no prior criminal record whatsoever, and there is
nothing in her history to suggest that she poses any threat to the community." 

Court documents stated that she is a stay-at-home mother who takes care of her children and home in West Bloomfield, takes the children to school events and attends prayer at a mosque. All of these activities take place within 20 miles of her home, according to court documents.

More: What is female genital mutilation?

Additionally, she has been compliant with every aspect of her pretrial release conditions, according to the filing. Documents noted that the U.S. Pretrial Services Agency didn't recommend Dahodwala wear a tether after interviewing her in June.

"Pretrial Services Officer Demetrius Hardy was informed of the filing of this motion and had no objection to the removal of Ms. Dahodwala’s tether," documents stated.

The documents also stated that the tether is uncomfortable and causes skin irritation, and that she must explain it to her children, 8 and 5.

Dahodwala is due back in court June 5, 2018.

In addition to Dahodwala, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, Farida Attar, Taherea Shafiq and Farida Arif were also charged. 

Details of case

The Burhani Medical Clinic in Livonia is owned by Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, who is accused of conspiring with the other defendants to perform female genital mutilations on young girls. Federal authorities believe the couple has performed the surgery on more than 100 girls.

Genital mutilation, also known as cutting, has been condemned by the United Nations and outlawed in the U.S.

Nagarwala and the Attars belong to a Muslim sect known as Dawoodi Bohra.

All six defendants allegedly conspired to make false statements to law enforcement and other investigating agencies. 

Unprecedented charges
This case is unprecedented in the U.S. According to the United States code, "whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both."

Here are the Congressional Findings: 

“(1) the practice of female genital mutilation is carried out by members of certain cultural and religious groups within the United States;
“(2) the practice of female genital mutilation often results in the occurrence of physical and psychological health effects that harm the women involved;
“(3) such mutilation infringes upon the guarantees of rights secured by Federal and State law, both statutory and constitutional;
“(4) the unique circumstances surrounding the practice of female genital mutilation place it beyond the ability of any single State or local jurisdiction to control;
“(5) the practice of female genital mutilation can be prohibited without abridging the exercise of any rights guaranteed under the first amendment to the Constitution or under any other law; and
“(6) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I, the necessary and proper clause, section 5 of the fourteenth Amendment, as well as under the treaty clause, to the Constitution to enact such legislation.”

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