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Woman, 40, who flew three-year-old British girl to Kenya for female genital mutilation is jailed for seven years in first conviction of its kind in the UK


A woman who took a British girl to Kenya to have female genital mutilation has been jailed in the first UK case of its kind.

Amina Noor, 40, took the three-year-old to a ‘clinic’ where she waited outside a private house while the child was mutilated in a horrific procedure.

Noor, from Harrow, London, had claimed that she thought the girl would only be injected or pierced in a procedure known as ‘Gudniin’ – the Arabic word for circumcision.

But medical experts who examined the child found she had suffered severe mutilation of her genitals, which most likely would have caused significant bleeding and extreme pain. 

The horror only came to light years later when the girl turned 16 and confided in a teacher. Noor was convicted in October last year.

In the first conviction of its kind, Amina Noor, 40, has been jailed for seven years for assisting in the female genital mutilation on a three-year-old British girl during a trip to Kenya in 2006

In the first conviction of its kind, Amina Noor, 40, has been jailed for seven years for assisting in the female genital mutilation on a three-year-old British girl during a trip to Kenya in 2006 

When confronted by police, Noor pretended to be ‘shocked and upset’ and claimed she was unaware the victim had been mutilated. She has now been jailed for seven years after being found guilty of assisting a non-UK person to carry out the procedure overseas.

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

He told her: ‘You have been found guilty of encouraging and assisting an act of genital mutilation performed upon a very young and vulnerable child.

‘The long-term consequences of FGM are well known and life changing.

‘Such a procedure is irreversible and the effects last a lifetime – effects the victim may be reluctant to speak out about or even acknowledge.’

The law on FGM 

Female genital mutilation has been a specific offence in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. 

The 1985 Act was replaced by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

It now includes assisting and taking children abroad to be cut.

Carrying out FGM currently carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

In 2019, the mother of a three-year-old girl became the first person to be found guilty of FGM in the UK. The 37-year-old woman was jailed for 11 years in the landmark case.

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

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.

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

Noor, 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 heard.

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

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 per cent 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.

Noor was born in Somalia but moved to Mombasa in Kenya when she was eight after the outbreak of civil war in Somalia

Noor was born in Somalia but moved to Mombasa in Kenya when she was eight after the outbreak of civil war in Somalia

Senior crown prosecutor Patricia Strobino hailed Noor's conviction, saying: 'This kind of case will hopefully encourage potential victims and survivors of FGM to come forward, safe in the knowledge that they are supported'

Senior crown prosecutor Patricia Strobino hailed Noor’s conviction, saying: ‘This kind of case will hopefully encourage potential victims and survivors of FGM to come forward, safe in the knowledge that they are supported’

The case saw the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) working alongside the police and National Crime Agency to prove that during her visit to Kenya, Noor knew some form of FGM was being committed against the victim.

More than 3,000 new FGM cases a year in UK, stats suggest 

Figures produced by the NHS in 2022 suggested there may be more than 3,000 newly identified victims of FGM in the UK each year.

NHS Digital produced stats of cases which were spotted by nurses or doctors around the country.

It is thought the majority of cases involved mutilation abroad. 

The up-to-date figures released last month state that there were 1590 newly identified victims of FGM in the UK between January and June this year. 

Investigators were able to find that she intentionally assisted with the commission of the offence. 

Noor was born in Somalia but moved to Mombasa in Kenya when she was eight after the outbreak of civil war. In 2003 she was granted refugee status in the UK before she became a British citizen in 2005.

Prosecutor Deanna Heer, KC, had previously told jurors that Noor flew the victim to Kenya in 2006.

‘Whilst they were there, she took [the victim] to the house of a Kenyan woman, where she was subjected to female genital mutilation. That involved the complete removal of her clitoris. At the time, she was just three years of age.’

Giving evidence, Noor had said she feared being ‘cursed’ if she did not allow the young British girl to have the procedure. 

When probed, Noor said the procedure was called ‘Sunnah’ – an Arabic word meaning ‘tradition’ or ‘way’ – and ‘Gudniin’ – the Somali word for circumcision. 

‘You will hear expert evidence that ‘Sunnah Gudniin’ is a particular term which means removal of the clitoris,’ Ms Heer said.

Giving evidence Noor, assisted by a Somali interpreter, said she did not know what the words meant at the time.

She claimed she did not know the toddler’s clitoris had been removed and that she had been told she only had an injection to withdraw blood.

Noor said she took the child to a ‘clinic’ via tuk-tuk, arriving at a private house where she did not know if the people were doctors. She told police she had to wait outside while the procedure was performed. 

Noor said that while the child had cried while it was being carried out she was ‘happy and able to run around and play afterwards’. 

Noor at the Old Bailey in London during her trial in October last year

Noor at the Old Bailey in London during her trial in October last year

Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy speaking to the press following the conviction

Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy speaking to the press following the conviction

She claimed it had only taken five minutes and did not pay for it and denied arranging the procedure. She described the clinic as being like a ‘living room’ with three doors leading to where the girls would have the procedure. 

Noor told the court: ‘I was told it would take only five minutes, nothing’s going to happen just stay out and she will come back out.

What is female genital mutilation (FGM)? 

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but there’s no medical reason for this to be done.

It’s also known as female circumcision or cutting, and by other terms, such as Sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others.

FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts.

It’s illegal in the UK and is child abuse.

It’s very painful and can seriously harm the health of women and girls.

It can also cause long-term problems with sex, childbirth and mental health.

Source: NHS 

‘She said something is going to be done, a drop of blood, it’s nothing, nothing wrong is going to happen.

Noor claimed she was told that during the procedure ‘nothing much is going to happen to the person, it’s just making sure a bit of blood is coming out.’ Afterwards the child was in pain while urinating. 

Years later when the police told Noor the victim’s clitoris had been removed she acted shocked. 

‘I was lied to. When that lady had told me what was going to be done I was not told the truth,’ she said.

The only other successful prosecution under the FGM Act of 2003 was in 2019 when a Ugandan woman from Walthamstow, east London, was jailed for 11 years for cutting a three-year-old girl. 

The 37-year-old woman, who cannot be named, had arranged for the little girl to be pinned down and mutilated in a filthy flat in east London in August 2017. She was jailed for 13 years at the Old Bailey.

Senior crown prosecutor Patricia Strobino hailed Noor’s conviction saying: ‘This kind of case will hopefully encourage potential victims and survivors of FGM to come forward, safe in the knowledge that they are supported, believed and also are able to speak their truth about what’s actually happened to them.

‘It will also send a clear message to those prospective defendants or people that want to maintain this practice that it doesn’t matter whether they assist or practise or maintain this practice within the UK, or overseas, they are likely to be prosecuted.’

She added: ‘Part of the challenge of this type of offence is the fact that these types of offences occur in secrecy.

‘Within specific communities within the UK, although these offences and practices are prevalent, it’s often very difficult to get individuals to come forward to explain the circumstances of what’s happened to them because there was a fear that they may be excluded or pushed away or shunned, isolated from their community.’

‘It will also send a clear message to those prospective defendants or people that want to maintain this practice that it doesn’t matter whether they assist or practise or maintain this practice within the UK, or overseas, they are likely to be prosecuted,’ she said. 

Jaswant Narwal, CPS national lead for honour-based abuse, female genital mutilation and forced marriage, added: ‘Female genital mutilation is a form of violence against women and girls, and in the latter case it is child abuse.

‘There are many complexities involved in prosecuting this type of offending, which can be committed in close-knit communities, historically, and abroad, but this is no barrier to the CPS prosecuting wherever our legal test is met.

‘We are clear there is no place for this unacceptable practice in society. We will continue to work tirelessly with our partners to safeguard and support victims of FGM and bring perpetrators to justice.’

Speaking outside court Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy, of the Metropolitan Police, said FGM is a ‘serious crime’, ‘child abuse’ and a ‘human rights violation’.

In a statement outside court, he said: ‘I hope this conviction demonstrates the lengths we will go to to enforce the law on female genital mutilation.

‘If you reside in the UK and take, arrange or facilitate a child to be taken out of the country for this barbaric crime, no matter where it takes place in the world, we can convict you.’

Noor said she did not go to school or have any education.

Noor, of Edgware, north-west London, pleaded not guilty, but was convicted of assisting a non-UK citizen to mutilate the genitals of a girl contrary to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.



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