A Danish couple of Sudanese origin have been held under suspicion of having had two of their young daughters circumcised in Sudan, police in Denmark have said.
The 49-year-old husband and 40-year-old wife were arrested after Danish social services alerted police to the fact that medical examinations indicated two of their three daughters, aged nine and 11, had been circumcised.
AdvertisementIn statements to police, the two girls said they had been circumcised in Sudan in 2003.
The pair, who denied all wrong-doing, was also accused of having planned to take their third daughter, aged five, to the African country to be circumcised as well.
In a closed-door hearing, a Danish judge remanded the couple in custody for eight days, on suspicion they violated a Danish law banning the participation in partial or total mutilation of the female genitalia.
They are the first people arrested in Denmark for breaking the law, introduced in 2003.
If found guilty, they could be sentenced to up to six years in prison.
Some 100-140 million girls and women around the world are victims of genital mutilation, including around 6.5 million in Western countries, mainly in Europe, according to a study by the French National Institute for Demographic Research published late last year.
Circumcision involves the partial or complete removal of the woman's external genitals and has remained widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
It can cause death through haemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth. It also carries risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma.
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