Couple in mutilation case not allowed to return home

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Pontiac — A Farmington Hills couple charged with female genital mutilation may not return to their home but will be allowed three hours visitation per week with their 9-year-old daughter, an Oakland Circuit Court judge ruled Tuesday.

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Atta, were released earlier this month on bond by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman. The couple and Dr. Jumana Nagarwala are charged with performing genital mutilation on two Minnesota girls in February at the Attar’s Livonia clinic.

The Attars had hoped to be reunited with their daughter at their home but Oakland Circuit Judge Victoria Valentine, who is handling a Child Protective Services parental custody case involving the pair, denied a defense motion to allow that to happen. Valentine said the couple are not to discuss any of the ongoing court matters with the girl.

“Dr. Attar and his wife are extremely excited to see their daughter and she wants to see her parents,” said defense attorney Mary Chartier after the hearing.

Chartier and attorney Matthew Newburg had argued the family should be permitted to live together pending resolution of federal and state matters. The girl has been placed in temporary custody of her grandparents, all living together at her parents’ home. Since their release from federal custody, the Attars have been living at an “alternative address,” according to their attorneys.

The Attars and Nagarwala belong to a Muslim sect called Dawoodi Bohra. They have denied the charges but said a religious ritual was performed on girls.

Chartier stressed the daughter has never been named as a potential victim in the federal case and expressed a desire to be back with her parents. Assistant state Attorney General Kelli Megyesi and guardian-ad-litem Karen Cook, appointed to represent the girl’s legal rights, told Valentine such a reunion posed a “potential risk” and violated Friedman’s order that the Attars should have no contact with any victims or potential witnesses.

“Of course the child wants her parents home,” Cook told Valentine on Tuesday. “It’s not what she wants, its what is in her best interests.”

State Children’s Protective Services workers and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office seek to have the Attars’ parental rights permanently terminated. A trial on that issue in Oakland Circuit Court is expected to start in September. The Attars have a Sept. 19 pretrial conference in federal court on criminal charges.

Authorities believe the Attars may be responsible for 100 cases of genital mutilation over the past 12 years.


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