Australia’s first female genital mutilation trial: how a bright young girl convinced a jury

Emma* is 11 and uses phrases like “the best that I am able” when asked by an adult if she will answer their questions. Strikingly intelligent, the western Sydney daughter of African and Indian migrants can recall in vivid detail everything that happened on a recent school excursion, right down to the detailing on pottery she saw.

So when she was called to give evidence against her mother in the supreme court, Emma was a reliable witness.

She testified in a landmark Australian case which centred around what happened to her in a room, about an hour away from her home, on an unspecified date which is likely to have been when she was seven years old.

Emma and her sister Caroline* were the – at times unwilling and overwhelmed – protagonists in the first female genital mutilation (FGM) trial in Australia, which has been playing out for the past nine weeks.

Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, who was convicted in a landmark female genital mutilation court case in Sydney this week.

 

The sisters were born two years apart into the Dawoodi Bohra Shia Muslim community. Their path to the supreme court to give evidence while their mother sat in the dock began in 2012 when police officers arrived at their school asking to interview them.

Read More: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/13/female-genital-mutilation-trial-young-girl-convinced-jury-australia

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