ANGOLA PRESS, Luanda, Saturday, June 14, 2008.

Danish couple held for mutilation

Sudan, 06/14 - Danish police have arrested a couple of Sudanese origin suspected of taking their two young daughters to Sudan to be circumcised.

Female circumcision usually involves the partial removal of the woman`s genitals.

It is outlawed in Denmark but remains a widespread practice in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia.

Police said the girls, now aged nine and 11, were circumcised in 2003 during a trip to the east African nation.

The 49-year-old husband and his 40-year-old wife were arrested after Danish social services alerted police to the fact that medical examinations showed the two girls had been circumcised.

The couple, who deny all wrong-doing, were also accused of having planned to take their third daughter, aged five, to Sudan to be circumcised.

A Danish judge remanded them in custody for eight days, pending further investigation. If found guilty, they could face up to six years in prison.

Female circumcision can cause death through haemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth. It also carries risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma.

Some 100 to 140 million girls and women around the world have undergone genital mutilation, including 6.5 million in Western countries, according to a study by the French National Institute for Demographic Research published last year.

(File revised 21 June 2008)