CAIRO: Four Egyptian doctors and a midwife are to be prosecuted for conducting female circumcision, a local official said on Sunday, as the government toughens its stand against the outlawed but widely practised operation.
The private clinics of the four doctors in the southern province of Menya have been shut down, Governor Fuad Saad Eddin told the official MENA news agency.
Health Ministry official Ayman Ragab told MENA there had been nine known cases of female circumcision in the province during the month of August.
In June, Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali issued a decree banning every doctor and member of the medical profession from performing the procedure.
A law to toughen penalties against the practice, prompted by the death of two young girls, is to be put to parliament when it reconvenes.
Female genital mutilation dates back to pharaonic times in Egypt. The practice, which affects both Muslim and Christian women, was banned in 1997 with doctors allowed only to operate in exceptional cases.
Female circumcision can cause death through haemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth. It also carries risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma.