A Syrian man who between April and May 2018 circumcised nine boys with a soldering gun in the Swedish cities of Söderhamn and Gävle has been slapped with a suspended sentence, national broadcaster SVT reported.
The man is in his 30s and is not a licensed doctor in Sweden. He performed the circumcisions at the request of the boys' guardians with a non-medical soldering gun. For his services, he received approximately SEK 2,000 ($230) in payment.
The man himself has, however, insisted that he'd had a medical education in Syria and thus is authorised to perform circumcision. Doctors who treated the children after the excruciating procedures, however, emphasised their disbelief that these could have been carried out by a real surgeon. Medical journals describe, among other things, how a couple of the boys were in so much pain after the botched circumcision that they had difficulty walking.
The investigation indicated that the man had come into contact with the families of the circumcised boys via a then-board member at Bilaal preschool previously linked to extremist circles. One of the founders of the preschool and a former employee were slated for deportation. According to the Swedish Security Police (Säpo), an extremist network active in Gästrikland County had access to premises belonging to Bilaal preschool, SVT reported.
The fake doctor has now been convicted of assault, causing bodily harm and violating the law on circumcision of boys. The penalty is a suspended sentence with 180 hours' community service. The man must also pay SEK 55,000 ($6,350) in damages.
At the same time, the man has been acquitted of assault on four occasions and causing bodily harm on five occasions. The reasons for this are that the court found that it is not proven that the inflammation in some of the cases came from the procedures, and that it is not proven that the pain was of such a nature that it should be considered abuse.
The prosecutor had previously demanded two years' imprisonment for the man.
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the human penis. It is practised in many cultures, including Judaism, Islam and even some Christian branches, and is often seen as a rite of passage and a transition from boyhood to adulthood.
In Sweden, operating on the foreskin of underage boys without a medical reason has been allowed since 2001.