Egyptian teenager dies after undergoing female genital mutilation

Health Ministry orders the hospital shut and books the authorities after 17-year-old girl dies.

An Egyptian teenager died while undergoing female circumcision, which is officially banned in the country. The Egyptian Health Ministry ordered the hospital shut and booked the authorities after the 17-year-old girl died on Saturday.

Lotfi Abdel-Sameeia, the local health ministry undersecretary, told the Associated Press that Mayar Mohamed Mousa died of a suspected stroke in a hospital in the province of Suez while she was under full anaesthesia. "This is something that the law has prohibited," he said.

Mousa's twin sister also underwent the operation and she survived.

The government banned female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2008 but it remains widespread in Egypt, especially in rural areas. It is widely practised among Muslims as well as Egypt's minority Christians.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Vivian Fouad, head of the Health Ministry's anti-FGM programme, referred to the incident as a "crime committed by criminals known as doctors". She added that these operations are usually carried out on young girls.

The operation was carried out by a registered female doctor. The circumstance of the girl's death was reported by a health inspector. Abdel-Samee said that the medical examiners have carried out an autopsy, and are due to report the cause of death.