The first trial over FGM in the UK gets underway this week. Two doctors have pleaded not guilty to carrying out the procedure on a woman after she gave birth in November 2012. Samira Shackle reports from London.
The case is something of a landmark. Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been classified as a serious crime in the UK since 1985, and, since 2003, it has been illegal to carry it out on a UK citizen abroad. Yet there has not been a single prosecution, despite more than 140 referrals to police over the last four years.
"This case is an interesting step," says Adwoa Kwateng-Kluvitse, head of global advocacy and partnerships at Forward, an organization which campaigns on FGM. "It would be positive if they can prove that FGM did take place and that there's a real case to be answered. What would hurt us as a campaign and advocacy group is if they go through the process only to find the case before the court has been proven to be weak. That would send a very negative message."