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Ethiopians demonstrate against US female circumcision conviction

[JURIST] About 300 protesters demonstrated Saturday in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia [JURIST news archive], calling for a US retrial of Khalid Adem, a Ethiopian immigrant to the United States who earlier this month was convicted of circumcising his daughter [JURIST report] in 2001. In what was believed to be the first US case of its kind, a Georgia state court [Gwinnett County courts website] sentenced Adem to ten years in prison for sexually mutilating his then-two-year-old daughter with a pair of scissors. The Georgia General Assembly [official website] enacted a bill [text] to specifically criminalize the practice of female genital mutilation [World Health Organization backgrounder] in 2005, as the practice was not technically a crime in Georgia [JURIST news archive] at the time of the incident.

Female circumcision is performed in various cultures and religions to discourage promiscuity among women and denies women sexual pleasure, causes dangerous infections, creates deep emotional scars, and can even kill, according to opponents and human rights groups. The procedure is not specifically illegal in Ethiopia [US State Dept. backgrounder], but government policy there discourages "harmful traditional practices." Reuters has more.

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