U.S. Appeals Court Blocks Deportation of Woman Fleeing FGM

The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals “blocked the deportation of an African woman who sought asylum out of fear her tribe would mutilate her genitals or kill her for losing her virginity.”

Adelaide Abankwah was denied asylum by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) in 1997 after she fled her tribe in Ghana. She claims that she could not return on the basis that she would either be killed or genitally mutilated after losing her virginity. On Monday, the Appeals Court heard her case and decided that “in light of the present conditions in Ghana,” she should not be deported.

Although Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been illegal in Ghana since 1994, very few people have been prosecuted and many women continue to undergo the traditional custom.

Currently, Abankwah’s lawyer is requesting that she be released from detainment at the INS.


Nando Times and AP - July 14, 1999

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