A doctor in the US city of Detroit has been charged with carrying out female genital mutilation on young girls in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the country.
Prosecutors said Jumana Nagarwala had been performing the practice on girls aged between six and eight for twelve years. She was investigated after the authorities received a tip-off. If found guilty, she faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Female genital mutilation was made illegal in the US in 1996.
In a voluntary interview with investigators earlier this week, Doctor Nagarwala denied being involved in any such procedure.
But prosecutors said she had performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims.
Doctor Nagarwala appeared in a federal court in Detroit and was remanded in custody.
Acting US attorney, Daniel Lemisch said Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls.
He added that it is also a serious federal felony in the United States, noting that the practice has no place in modern society and those who perform it on minors will be held accountable under federal law.
The first recorded case of Female genital mutilation in the US was in 2006, when an Ethiopian immigrant was jailed for ten years for aggravated battery and cruelty to children for mutilating his two-year-old daughter five years earlier with a pair of scissors.