Girl bleeds to death after circumcision

 Sunday, July 14, 1996 5:33 am EDT 

      CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- An 11-year-old girl bled to death after a 
botched circumcision performed by a village barber, police officials said 

The officials said the child, whose name was given only as Sara, died 
Friday in a Cairo hospital after doctors were unable to stem heavy 

The girl's clitoris had been removed by a barber in a village in the Nile 
Delta the day before, when a number of girls were circumcised in a 
special reed hut set up in a village celebration,they said. 

The police officials, who spoke on condition their names not be used, 
said an investigation of the death has been launched. 

The government has sought to end female circumcision, or genital 
mutilation, which ranges from clipping the tip of a young girl's clitoris 
to cutting away even the outer sexual organs. It has refused to ban the 
practice outright. 

The procedure is seen as a way to prevent promiscuity by stifling sexual 
desire, despite the dangers to health, and an estimated 70 percent to 90 
percent of girls in Egypt are circumcised before puberty. 

Since many doctors refuse to perform the procedure, families often take 
their daughters to midwives or so-called surgical barbers who use 
anything from dull, dirty razor blades to knives, and often work without 

Human rights groups and women activists have condemned the practice and 
are trying to get it outlawed. 

In April, a barber in a village near Assiut in southern Egypt was
sentenced to a year in prison for causing serious and permanent damage to 
a 9-year-old girl during a circumcision operation.

(File revised 10 May 2008)