Again acquittal in Dutch genital mutilation case
The Amsterdam court of appeals has acquitted 31-year-old Mustapha el-M.of mutilating his 6-year-old daughter.
The appeals court ruled there was no doubt the child's genitals had been seriously mutilated and that the injuries were not self-inflicted. However, there was no irrefutable evidence that the father was responsible for the mutilation of his daughter.
Earlier, the Haarlem district court had acquitted el-M. on the same grounds, but the Public Prosecutor's Office filed an appeal against that verdict. The accused also filed an appeal because the district court had convicted him on charges of physically abusing his daughter. The appeals court also found him guilty of the abuse and sentenced him to three months in jail.
El-M., who is of Moroccan descent, was arrested in October of last year after his daughter told her stepmother that "daddy had cut her naughty bits with a big pair of scisssors". The appeals court found that the girl's statement was very brief and did not provide enough details to be accepted as evidence. In addition, she made different accusations in her first conversation with her stepmother, only to retract them later.
The child also said her mother was present during the mutilation. As a result, the mother was initially treated as a suspect, but she consistently denied any involvement in the crime, and the court found her denials were credible. El-M has also consistently denied mutilating his daughter.
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