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Four Arrested After CNN Tapes Cutting Of Girl’s Genitals

September 12, 1994

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Police arrested a barber who cut a 10-year-old girl’s genitals as she screamed in pain in an operation videotaped by Cable News Network.

A plumber who assisted him, a florist accused of helping arrange the taping and the girl’s father also were arrested Sunday, the government newspaper Al- Akhbar said. The father was released on bail; the others were being held. No CNN employees were charged.

The procedure, called genital mutilation by opponents and female circumcision by those who advocate it, is commonplace in Egypt although it is rarely done in medical facilities as required by law. Arrests are unusual, but in this case officials reportedly were angered by CNN International’s showing of the operation last Wednesday, fearing the report portrayed Egypt as a backward country.

CNN filmed the operation in connection with the U.N. population conference in Cairo, where women’s rights are a major issue.

The procedure can range from clipping the tip of the clitoris to removing the external part of the sex organs. The practice, which is common in Africa and in parts of the Middle East, is done in the belief it will make women less sexually active.

Adel Fahmi, the deputy prosecutor general, said the three men being held without bail were charged with ″performing illegal surgery″ and ″looking at sensitive body parts.″

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