- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

LONDON (AP) - A doctor charged in Britain’s first prosecution for female genital mutilation has been acquitted.

A jury deliberated for less than half an hour Wednesday before finding 32-year-old doctor Dhanuson Dharmasena not guilty. A second man, Hasan Mohamed, was cleared of abetting the offence.

Female genital mutilation involves intentionally altering or injuring genital organs for non-medical reasons. Dharmasena said he only stitched up a woman who was bleeding after giving birth at London’s Whittington Hospital.

Defense lawyer Zoe Johnson said Dharmasena had been “made a scapegoat” for shortcomings by the hospital, which failed to identify that the woman had undergone genital mutilation as a child in Somalia.

The World Health Organization estimates that 125 million girls have been affected in African and the Middle Eastern countries where the practice is concentrated.

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