Egyptian parliament on Wednesday approved a bill toughening penalties against those involved in female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice believed to be rife in the country although illegalized in 2008.
The bill increases punishment to between five and seven years in prison to those convicted of performing the procedure on women, state television reported.
The current penalty is a maximum two-year jail term.
The penalty can be higher if the FGM procedure results in a permanent disability or death, the broadcaster added without elaborating.
The new law also punishes anyone subjecting a woman to FGM by one to three years in prison.
In May, an Egyptian teenage girl died of complications caused by illegal FGM surgery conducted at a private hospital.
At the time, the United Nations called for stronger action in Egypt against the medicalization of FGM.
Some 82 per cent of female circumcisions in Egypt are performed by trained medical personnel, the UN says.
Around 92 per cent of Egyptian women aged 15 to 49 years have been subjected to FGM, according to government figures.
The practice involves the removal of part or all of clitoris.
Advocates of the age-old tradition believe that FGM is necessary for women’s chastity, allegedly by controlling their sexual desires.
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