‘She is not wicked’: Victim of female genital mutilation defends woman who flew her to Kenya for procedure 18 years ago

17 February 2024, 11:38 | Updated: 17 February 2024, 11:42

Amima Noor has been jailed for seven years in a landmark case
Amima Noor has been jailed for seven years in a landmark case. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

A woman who flew a British girl to Kenya for female genital mutilation has been defended by the victim after she was jailed on Friday.

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Amina Noor, 40, from Harrow, north-west London, was found guilty last year of assisting a non-UK person to carry out the procedure overseas 18 years ago.

It has now emerged that the victim, who kept the mutilation a secret for 13 years, pleaded for Noor to be spared jail at court on Friday.

She told the court that she understood why Noor had agreed to let the procedure go ahead, adding that she is “not wicked”.

“I know if I had been in her position with the failure of education and pressure from people she trusted, I would have done the same,” she said, according to the MailOnline.

Noor became the first person to be convicted of taking someone to another country for FGM.

She is also only the second in the UK to be convicted under the FGM Act of 2003.

Amima Noor the three-year-old girl from Britain to Kenya
Amima Noor the three-year-old girl from Britain to Kenya. Picture: Alamy

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The other successful prosecution was in 2019 when a Ugandan woman from Walthamstow, east London, was jailed for 11 years for cutting a three-year-old girl.

Mr Justice Bryan, sentencing her to seven years at the Old Bailey on Friday, described the crime as "truly horrific and abhorrent".

The judge said he hoped the victim's "bravery" would encourage others to come forward to report incidents.

Noor, then aged 22, travelled to the east African country with the toddler in 2006 and took her to a private house where she was subjected to FGM, also known as female circumcision or cutting.

The crime only came to light years later when the girl was 16 and confided in her English teacher at school.

When spoken to, the defendant said she thought the procedure was just an injection and afterwards the girl was "happy and able to run around and play", the court was told.

But when examined in 2019, it emerged that the girl's clitoris had been completely removed.

Met detective superintendent Andy Furphy said he hoped the jail sentence would be a deterrent on Friday.
Met detective superintendent Andy Furphy said he hoped the jail sentence would be a deterrent on Friday. Picture: Alamy

Noor appeared "shocked and upset" and said that was not what she thought was going to happen.

According to an initial account, Noor described going with another woman to a "clinic" where the girl was called into a room for a procedure.

The defendant said she was invited in but refused because she was "scared and worried".

Afterwards, the girl appeared quiet and cried the whole night and complained of pain, according to the account.

Jurors were told the defendant was born in Somalia and moved to Kenya at the age of eight during the civil war in her home country.

She was aged 16 when she came to the UK and was later granted British citizenship.

The defendant described what had been done to the girl as "Sunnah", meaning "tradition" or "way" in Arabic, and said it was a practice that had gone on for cultural reasons for many years.

The court was told that 94% of females of Somali origin living in Kenya undergo the procedure, according to United Nations figures.

Giving evidence in her trial, Noor said she was threatened with being "cursed" and "disowned" within her community if she did not take part.

She told jurors the threat gave her "pain", adding: "That was a pressure I had no power to do anything about."

The victim, who is now aged 21, cannot be identified for legal reasons.

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