Two doctors arrested after an undercover sting by 'fake sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood have been released from police bail without charge.
Ali Haji Mao-Aweys, 61, and Omar Sheikh Mohamed Addow, 55, were arrested in Birmingham by West Midlands Police in May, on suspicion of offences contrary to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
West Midlands Police's public protection department launched an investigation after the publication of an article in The Sunday Times by Mahmood and Eleanor Mills on 22 April, which claimed that “up to 100,000 women in Britain have undergone brutal sexual mutilations and medics in this country are offering to carry out the illegal operations”.
The investigationsecretly filmed three men, “a doctor, a dentist and an alternative medicine practitioner”, allegedly “offering to circumcise girls as young as 10 or help arrange for the procedure to be carried out”.
But the chief crown prosecutor for the West Midlands area, Harry Ireland, has now announced that no action will be taken against the two men at the centre of the allegations.
He said: “Dr Ali Haji Mao-Aweys and Dr Omar Sheikh Mohamed Addow were arrested in May following a newspaper report in which it was alleged they were willing to carry out genital mutilation on two young girls after being approached by a woman posing as the girls' aunt, but who was actually working as an undercover journalist or agent of some sort.
"The main evidence in this case is from the undercover journalist or agent but she has consistently failed to sign her draft statement for the police despite being given every opportunity to do so over the past five months."
He added that covert recordings made by the journalist were "very unlikely" to be admissible in court, adding that searches of the doctors' homes found no evidence of illegal practice.
“We have a duty to release suspects from bail if the evidence is not there to merit a prosecution, which is why I have advised the police in this case to do that today,” he said.
“The case has been reviewed according to the Code for Crown Prosecutors and there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction."
A spokeswoman for The Sunday Times said: "The intention of this investigation was to highlight the alarming practise of female genital mutilation.
"The article was not accusing the doctors of committing a crime, but of being willing to consider aiding FGM."