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Houston woman indicted in horrific female genital mutilation case involving child

Federal prosecutors say Zahra Badri transported a minor from the United States to another country for the purpose of female genital mutilation.
Credit: Google map
The Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston

HOUSTON — A federal grand jury has returned the first-ever indictment for female genital mutilation involving a child.

The indictment alleges Zahra Badri, 39, transported a minor from the United States to an unnamed country for the purpose of genital mutilation.

Badri is a resident of Houston originally from the United Kingdom.

The Justice Department said it’s the first indictment of its kind in the United States.

“The brutal practice of female genital mutilation not only subjects victims to the immediate trauma of the violent act, but also often condemns them to suffer a lifetime of physical and psychological harms,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Immediate complications 

  • Severe pain
  • Excessive bleeding 
  • Genital tissue swelling
  • Fever
  • Infections 
  • Urinary problems
  • Wound healing problems
  • Injury to surrounding genital tissue
  • Shock
  • Death

Long-term complications 

  • Urinary problems, including infections
  • Vaginal problems 
  • Menstrual problems
  • Scar tissue and keloid;
  • Sexual problems
  • Increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths;
  • Need for later surgeries:
  • Psychological problems

“Female genital mutilation is child abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. “The long-term damage, both physically and physiologically, is well documented. Unnecessary medical procedures on children will not be tolerated.”

Investigators say it’s rare that this type of crime is brought to the attention of law enforcement.

The case involving Badri happened sometime in 2016, according to the indictment, but it doesn’t say which foreign country was involved.

"The practice is mainly concentrated in the Western, Eastern, and North-Eastern regions of Africa and in some countries in the Middle East and Asia," according to the World Health Organization.

The FBI’s Houston Field Office conducted the investigation with the support of the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC).

Established in 2009, the HRVWCC focuses on locating and prosecuting human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in:

  • Persecution
  • War crimes
  • Genocide
  • Torture
  • Extrajudicial killings
  • Female genital mutilation
  • The use or recruitment of child soldiers

The HRVWCC is comprised of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit, ICE’s Human Rights Law Section, FBI’s International Human Rights Unit and the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP).