A U.S. District Court judge in Detroit today denied bond for Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, a Detroit area physician charged with performing female genital mutilation.
Nagarwala, 44, of Northville is accused of cutting the genitals of two Minnesota girls as part of a religious procedure, though prosecutors have alleged in court that she may have subjected up to 100 girls to the procedure over the last 12 years.
Nagarwala, who is being held at the Huron County Jail, is a member of a small Indian-Muslim sect that has a mosque in Farmington Hills, and members of her community filled the courtroom in support of her today.
U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman denied the defense’s motion for bond because of concerns that Nagarwala poses a flight risk but said that he is willing to reconsider it at another point if there can be more assurances.
Friedman said that he was trying to weigh Nagarwala’s presumption of innocence with society’s right to make sure she doesn’t flee.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said there is no way to guarantee that Nagarwala does not take part in another procedure.
“The risk of harm to children is too great,” Woodward said.
A courtroom sketch shows U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub, center, and Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, right, recently in Detroit. (Photo: Jerry Lemenu, Special to the Free Press)
Nagarwala’s lawyer, Shannon Smith, said her client will not leave the country and does not pose a danger to the community. Smith asked for a pretrial release with conditions similar to those of defendants Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and Farida Attar, 50, of Farmington Hills.
Dr. Attar is accused of letting Nagarwala use his Livonia clinic to perform the procedures; his wife is accused of holding the girls' hands during the procedures.
Smith addressed media after the hearing and said she was saddened by the result but plans to file further motions. She said that they are consulting with security companies about the possibility of a continuous video feed.
Reporter Tresa Baldas contributed to this report.
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