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Child Circumcision Case Heard in Finnish Courts

A case involving child circumcision is being handled for the first time in the Finnish courts, reports YLE's TV News.

The boy’s father reported the case to the police after the mother, a Muslim, called a doctor to perform the circumcision. The mother was later accused of assault and battery.

The Tampere District Court determined that the circumcision was against the law. However, the mother was not punished because the she did not realise the procedure was a crime. The case continues to be handled in the Court of Appeals.

Circumcision of girls, or female genital mutilation, is clearly a crime in Finland. Circumcision of boys, when not for medical reasons, can also be deemed as abuse. Both the parents and the doctor performing the procedure can be charged in the crime.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has recommended that male circumcisions that are not for medical purposes also be performed in hospitals. The Ministry bases its decision on several unsuccessful operations performed in homes in the beginning of the 1990s. Those botched operations had to be corrected by public healthcare services.

A few years ago, a working group at the Ministry proposed allowing hospitals to perform circumcisions in which the patient was not put under general anaesthesia. The matter has not yet been pursued by Minister of Social Affairs and Health Liisa Hyssälä.

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