September 13, 2012
Genital mutilation may not be isolatedBy Isabel Hayes and Adam Bennett
The charging of four people over the circumcision of two young girls in Sydney has led to fears that other cases of female genital mutilation have gone undetected in NSW.
A sheik, a retired nurse and a man and woman have been charged over the genital mutilation of the girls, who were aged six and seven when the procedure was allegedly carried out in a home in metropolitan Sydney 18 months ago.
It is understood to be the first time anyone has been charged over the offence in NSW, with police alleging the procedure was carried out for cultural reasons.
Shabbir Vaziri, 56, a sheik from Auburn, appeared before Burwood Local Court on Thursday where he was granted bail.
He is charged with two counts of being an accessory after the fact to female genital mutilation and with hindering the police investigation.
Earlier on Thursday, a 68-year-old woman - a retired nurse - was charged with performing the procedure on the two girls.
A 42-year-old man and a 35-year-old woman were arrested last Friday and charged with two counts of female genital mutilation. Police have refused to confirm media reports the pair are the girls' parents.
Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec told reporters the girls were members of a small cultural community in Sydney and were still living in the family home.
"The children are still with their parents. I can stress that, despite this procedure, they are good parents," Det Supt Kerlatec said.
Asked if he thought there may be more victims, Det Supt Kerlatec said: "We're not aware of any other incidents at this stage, but I can't discount that fact."