Sweden acts on female circumcision

// 1 July 2006

A Swedish citizen has been jailed for four years for forcing his daughter to undergo circumcision.

The BBC reports that Somali man Ali Elmi Hayow held his daughter down while the brutal procedure – which involves amputing part or all of the genitals – was carried out.

Props to Sweden for sucessfully convicting this man, but this is a bit dodgy:

He was ordered he pay his daughter damages of 346,000 kronor (US$46,000; £26,000).

Does that not strike anyone as pretty low damages for inflicting a procedure like this?

Thank you to the reader who emailed us this story: sorry we missed it first time around!

More bad news: Cecilia Fire Thunder, the Oglala Sioux Tribe leader who vowed to open an abortion clinic on the tribe’s reservation following South Dakota’s ban, has been impeached by the tribal council.

Will Peters, a tribal council member who filed the impeachment complaint, said Fire Thunder didn’t have the tribal council’s approval to pursue the project.

“The bottom line is the Lakota people were adamantly opposed to abortion on our homelands.”

However, Thunder denies that abortion is anathema to the tribe’s beliefs:

Legal abortion, Fire Thunder said, is particularly important for Native American women, who lack access to birth control, who tend to live in poverty and who face epidemic sexual violence.

Native American women are raped three times more often than women of all other races in the United States, according to 1999 U.S. Department of Justice data.

Abortion, Fire Thunder said, is part of the aboriginal right of tribal women throughout North America. Until the advent of missionaries and their boarding schools a century ago, the knowledge of terminating pregnancies, both physically and spiritually, was passed down through women’s societies.

“You would talk to that spirit,” Fire Thunder said of the fetus. “You would say, ‘I can’t take care of you right now. Please, go back.'”

Meanwhile, and much more encouragingly, Kuwaiti women have voted in their national election for the first time.

This is an amazing first step in the right direction – but it’s a shame that no women were elected to office.

“It was a loss lined with success,” said Fatima Abdali, one of the female candidates.

Abdali placed fifth in a field of 14 in the constituency of Deyyah, a suburb of Kuwait City.

“With persistence, we will continue and we will get there,” she said.

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