Egypt parliament toughens penalties for female circumcision

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s parliament has toughened penalties for female genital mutilation, adopting amendments that punish perpetrators with up to 15 years in prison if a child dies and up to seven years for carrying the procedure.

Wednesday’s vote comes four days after Cabinet sent the proposed amendments to parliament. The state MENA news agency quoted lawmaker Ahmed el-Sherif as saying the penalties are meant to act as “deterrence.”

Female genital mutilation was criminalized in 2008 but remains widespread in Egypt. In May, a 17-year-old girl died of a suspected stroke under anesthesia while undergoing female circumcision in the city of Suez.

The United Nations estimates at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries have undergone the procedure, with half of them in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.