A 44-year-old Detroit emergency room doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation on minors was jailed and denied bail Monday in a case the government says is the first of its kind in the U.S.
Federal prosecutors say that Dr. Jumana Nagarwala has been performing the illegal cutting practice on girls between 6 and 8 years old for more than a decade. She was arrested Thursday after the FBI received a tip, trying to board a flight to Nairobi, Kenya, where she planned to visit two of her children who are in a boarding school there, according to the Department of Justice.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub labeled Nagarwala a flight risk in denying her bail.
The DOJ confirmed that Nagarwala is the first person to be charged under 18 U.S.C. 116, a federal law that criminalized female genital mutilation, or FGM, in 2012. Being convicted of performing FGM can result in up to five years in prison, but Nagarwala was also charged with transportation of an individual with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and lying to a federal agent.
As a result, Nagarwala could face life in prison.