Parents may face piercing probe

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Berlin - A German couple who filed for damages from a piercing studio where they had the ears of their 3-year-old daughter pierced could face charges of harming her after a court said it might ask police to investigate whether their actions were legal.

The case at a Berlin court could further heat up a debate in Germany about parental consent after a court in the western city of Cologne ruled in June that a doctor had inflicted bodily harm by circumcising a 4-year-old Muslim boy at his parents' request.

A Berlin court approved the parents' demand for 70 euros (88 dollars) in damages for excessive pain inflicted on their daughter during the piercing. But noting the Cologne case, judge Uwe Kett raised the possibility of referring the parents and the piercing artist to the police.

The girl's father, a car mechanic, said the damages would be put in Leonie's piggy bank.

Her parents said she had asked for earrings for her birthday in December, but had not expected piercing to hurt so much and continued to show traumatic symptoms three days later.

In the circumcision case, the doctor avoided conviction, but was told he had broken the law. Although the ruling is only binding in the Cologne area, practitioners nationwide have ceased circumcisions.

The case upset Muslim and Jewish communities worldwide and Chancellor Angela Merkel promised legislation to confirm that religious circumcision of young boys is legal.

The piercing case could boost opponents of ritual circumcision who are lobbying Merkel to have the procedure forbidden. - Sapa-dpa

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