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Detroit-area doctor charged in female genital cutting case to be released on $4.5 million bond

Sep 20, 2017

This post has been updated on 9/20/2017 to include a response from Jumana Nagarwala's attorney, Shannon Smith.

A federal judge has granted bond to a Detroit-area doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation on young girls.

Doctor Jumana Nagarwala has been behind bars since April, after being arrested for her alleged involvement in the genital cutting procedure performed on two young girls from Minnesota.

Nagarwala was released on bond today, thanks to her friends pledging $4.5 million in collateral to cover her bond.

Shannon Smith is Nagarwala's attorney. She says that if Nagarwala violates the conditions of her bond, the government could seize the property pledged, which includes her home in metro Detroit.

Smith is happy to see that her client is getting out of jail.

"I'm obviously happy to hear that [Nagarwala] is going to be released, and I actually think it's the fairest thing to do," Smith said.

Smith and her colleagues are still collecting information from the government regarding the case, which she says is a very slow process.  

Because of this, Smith believes her client could have been out of jail months ago. 

"It's pretty standard that defendants are released , but [Nagarwala] should have been out much sooner," Smith said.

Peter Henning, professor of law at Wayne State University, says the alleged procedure has a religious aspect to it, which can be tricky for judges.

“Courts have to be very careful about any restrictions on religious practices because that could end up violating an individual's First Amendment rights,” Henning said.

Nagarwala and the other defendants in the case are part of the Dawoodi Borha sect in Islam, which still practices female genital cutting in several countries.

However, it is illegal to perform genital cutting on minors in the U.S., unless there is a medial reason for doing so. It recently became a felony in Michigan.

Nagarwala is believed to have performed this procedure on as many as 100 young girls from 2005 to 2017 .

Nagarwala is currently awaiting her trial, which is tentatively set for June 2018, according to Smith.