Just Ink on Paper: Egypt’s FGM Trial

Written By: Reda El-Danbouki
Originally in Arabic, Translated to English


Last year we celebrated a triumphant court case in Egypt that promised to put away the doctor who killed a young girl while performing FGM. However, we are sad to report that the verdict is not being implemented. It remains ink on paper, but isn’t even worth the ink used.


The verdict is just paragraphs and legal sentences, unimplemented, while the struggle continues for gender equality, fair inheritance, an end to sexual harassment, and equal opportunity. With all that said, “court” verdicts are not being implemented because the state doesn’t want to implement them. They see a defect in women and they desire to silence and oppress them. They believe that the constitution gives more rights to women than men, but the constitution is much more fair than reality. The purpose of these stated falsehoods is to win public support, and to lower women’s value, activity and affirmative role in society.


The court verdict was supposed to imprison the doctor who circumcised the 13-year-old girl and whose actions resulted in her death. This verdict was considered the first of its kind – the first since FGM became illegal in 2008. It was considered a victory for civil society organizations and for myself, as the head of a women’s organization (Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness). I have made more than one complaint against the Ministry of the Interior and all related departments, but no action has been taken in the 10+ months since the trial. The judge ordered that the doctor be imprisoned – not because he thought he was guilty, but out of the fear that they’ll say Egypt, as a country, is encouraging FGM.


This turning of the cheek is actually a very dangerous thing that threatens the safety of society and can cause catastrophe. President el-Sisi and the heads of the Egyptian government should respect women and empower them to fill decision-making roles. They should also implement all verdicts published to the benefit of women. Our women deserve much more.