9 Ivorian women sentenced over genital mutilation

July 20, 2012 - 1:38 PM

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — An Ivory Coast official says nine women have been sentenced to two years in prison each for involvement in female genital mutilation, marking the first time such a case results in jail time in the West African nation.

Justice ministry official Jean-Luc Molo said Friday courts previously convicted defendants for genital mutilation but pressure from local communities hindered them from imposing prison sentences.

He said the women from the northern town of Katiola were found guilty of carrying out the genital mutilation on a "groups of young girls" over an extended period. He could not provide an exact number of victims or their age.

Female circumcision is banned in Ivory Coast since 1998 but the practice remains widespread. The United Nations say the practice violates fundamental human rights and endangers girls' health.