Finland Parents and Circumciser Charged with Assault and Battery and Fined for Sons' Circumcision

Helsinki, the capitol and largest city in Finland made news today when the District Court imposed a fine on the man who was convicted of assault and battery last Friday for circumcising two minor aged boys of Muslim parents. The parents of the boys have been convicted of incitement to assault and battery for encouraging the circumcision of their sons, and will pay out fines to their boys, but will not receive legal punishments.

Finland does not have specific legal guidelines for genital cutting of minors when cutting is performed for "religious reasons." In 2008, Finland's Supreme Court ruled that genital cutting for religious reasons is not specifically illegal if performed under proper medical procedure. However, after the Supreme Court's ruling, Finland signed the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine of the Council of Europe. Under this convention, any medical procedure impacting an individual's health must be performed according to professional obligations and requirements. Surgical procedures (including genital cutting and the amputation of the prepuce - 'foreskin' or 'clitoral hood') can only be performed on someone able to give informed consent. If they are unable to provide informed consent (because they are a minor child or infant, or for any other reason), they can only be put through surgical producers if there are immediate benefits. The court further ruled that circumcision is a procedure that should only be performed on those who consent to undergo such cutting of their own body. As an additional prerequisite, anyone performing genital cutting must be a medical or health care professional with a license in Finland or elsewhere in the European Union.

Last Friday, the Helsinki District Court stated that it would be a misinterpretation of the Supreme Court's earlier decision if they were to ignore or authorize these cases of non-medically justified circumcision.

The man who circumcised the boys said that he has performed the same surgical amputation of the prepuce upon thousands of boys in Turkey and Iran, but lacks the license required for such surgical procedures in Finland.

One of the two boys cut in Helsinki suffered infections as a result of circumcision. This boy was awarded 3,000 EUR (approximately $3,900 USD) to be paid to him by both his parents and the man who cut him. The other boy was awarded 500 EUR (approximately $650 U.S.) which will also be paid out by both his parents, and the circumcising man. In addition, the court issued a 60 day income-linked fine for the crime of circumcision without medical justification or qualification, which amounted to 360 EUR (approximately $470 USD).

Related Reading:

Faith Considerations on Circumcision (Islam, Judaism, Christianity)

Male Circumcision in the USA: A Human Rights Primer

Swedish Doctors Refuse to Circumcise 

Religious Reasons for Circumcision Could Breech Human Rights



  1. Good job Finland! Everyone should have their mental health checked if they think chopping up kids is beneficial.

    1. Can I say your comment slightly offended me? Both of my boys were circ'd and while I am DEFINITELY NOT proud of that, I don't think my mental health needs to be checked. I was a VERY misinformed mom. BOTH times. No one talked about not circumcising. It was "normal" and anything otherwise was unheard of. If I could go back and change that, I absolutely would! But 11 years ago, there wasn't the information out there that there is now...

  2. Muslims aren't supposed to cut anyway.

    Thank you Finland!

  3. Andrea von SchoeningJanuary 03, 2012 7:41 PM

    Well, this is a great step in the right direction, and hopefully many other countries will follow suit. I do hope that the fines are MUCH more extreme, as these amounts are not much of a deterrent, nor are they reflective of compensation to the boys for what they have lost. Still ... baby steps ... and it is good to hear it referred to as genital cutting, too! Thanks!

  4. As a Finn, I always have to answer to appalled reactions about Finland's policy about circumcision and how it is treated as abuse there. Well.... It has NEVER been part of the Finnish culture so yeah, of course if someone starts cutting their infants genitals, it's considered abuse.

  5. Wish I lived in Finland!! Good for them.

    To Becky (above): I do not believe the first comment was directed at you. The blame for circumcision rests squarely on the shoulders of an unethical medical community who have promoted lies and misconceptions for a century, while withholding factual information from parents in the interest of their bank accounts.
    What ever happened to "informed consent"? There wasn't any. What happened to the oath that every doctor takes "to do no harm"? It was conveniently ignored.

  6. Isn't it amazing that in Europe, they believe that non-emergency procedures like circumcision require informed consent of the patient? In the USA, our culture blinds us to this possibility, as parents think, "Of course you would circumcise your son! Why ever would you not?" People just cannot seem to see their own culture. I think that circumcision is forced on infants because at a deep level, we know that few men would consent to it as adults. I wonder how these two boys in Finland will view their circumcisions and the court cases when they are adults?

  7. Though there are no records, the Finnish government says 100 boys are circumcised each year.
    The latest: (2003)
    Central Union for Child Welfare
    Helsinki, Finland

    (snip) "The Child Custody and Right of Access Act prohibits the subjection of children to exploitation and humiliating treatment."

    ((American Heritage Dictionary: exploit tr.v.
    1. To employ to the greatest possible advantage: exploit, one's talents.
    2. To make use of selfishly or unethically: a country that exploited peasant labor. See Synonyms at manipulate.
    3. To advertise; promote.))

    (snip) Circumcision violates a boy's sexual integrity and alters his body, having physical and behavioural effects. Female circumcision is rightly viewed as inhumane sexual mutilation and is punished as an assault. Boys are guaranteed the same legal protection. (a case that the mother circumcised her 4 yo boy without consulting the father. (snip) "There is a perception in Finland that only girls’ circumcisions are banned by law. There is no specific legislation about them; both types are illegal under the same criminal law. After all, in both procedures, part of healthy genitalia is removed without medical foundation, or competent consent", says local prosecutor Jouko Nurminen." (snip) In its decision, the court notes that not even a long religious tradition justifies protecting the bodily inviolability of boys to a lesser degree than that of girls. (2001) (This good news about African female genital mutilation which I didn't know.) (snip) A survey among African immigrants claimed that the most radical, so called Pharaonic operation, is not supported any more, whereas it is unclear whether smaller incisions are being performed or not.
    According to Qualified Nurse Saido Mohamed, who has held debates among female African immigrants, mothers are not willing to speak of circumcision to their daughters, because sexual issues are a taboo among the immigrants. (snip)



Related Posts with Thumbnails