Woman who circumcised son, 4, faces 14 years in jail over child abuse charges

Fiona Simpson
Abuse: A stock picture of a child: REX

An Eritrean woman could face 14-years in jail after circumcising her four-year-old son.

The mother, who is living as an asylum seeker in Israel, performed the procedure at her home in March last year, according to local news website Haaretz.

The woman, referred to as ‘A’ in Israeli courts, faces charges of child abuse and grievous bodily harm but claims she was unaware she was committing crime as carrying out circumcision is not illegal in her north African home country.

At the Be’er Sheva District Court, the 37-year-old denied performing a forbidden or illegal act, Haaretz reported.

She told the court: “This is my son, my baby.

“After so many requests I made to all sorts of places about how to do it, I took it upon myself and cut. In Ethiopian culture, Eritrean culture, anyone who knows how can do the circumcision.”

As circumcisions are not regulated by law there is no requirement for a doctor to be present, however, lawyers are debating the definition of circumcision, who can perform one and when.

An indictment read out in court claims the defendant did not respond to the child’s crying and appeals to stop the procedure.

Defence lawyers denied claims it was carried out as punishment for wetting the bed.

The defendant took her son to nursery school three days after the incident, and asked him to lower his trousers so she could explain what happened to the teacher.

The teacher, who noticed he allegedly had a limp and was injured, alerted authorities, according to local reports.

He was taken to hospital and handed over to foster care the same day.

If the woman is acquitted a legal precedent would be set over the use of cultural defence in cases involving circumcision.

The trial continues.

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