No Charges in Kuopio Circumcisions

Yle Uutisten artikkeliarkisto

No charges will be brought against an African-born doctor who botched home circumcisions of several boys in eastern Finland, or against the boys' parents.

The physician carried out seven of the rituals at a private home in Kuopio in 2001 for religious reasons. Six of the children later had to be hospitalised because of complications. They ranged in age from three to 10 years old.

In her decision, state prosecutor Päivi Hirvelä cited a proposal by a Ministry of Social Affairs and Health task force.

In a report issued at the beginning of this year, it said that ritual circumcision of boys should be allowed under certain circumstances. The committee said that non-therapeutic circumcision of girls should be completely forbidden. So far Parliament has not considered the issue, which is a growing concern as Finland's immigrant population increases.

Guilty, but No Charges

The Central Union for Child Welfare in Finland and other groups strongly oppose ritual circumcision of any children. The health ministry estimates that some 100 boys are circumcised in Finland annually.

While Hirvelä decided not to press charges in the case, she said that the doctor's actions did fit the definition of criminal assault and that the boys' fathers were guilty of incitement to assault.

Worldwide about one in six men is circumcised for religious, cultural or health reasons. It is an important ritual in Islam, Judaism and some Christian churches. In most cases circumcision is done with a few days of a boy's birth, without anaesthesia.

YLE24, Finnish News Agency