Parents sue over ear piercing

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Berlin - A German couple is suing a piercing studio where they had the ears of their 3-year-old daughter pierced, arguing that the procedure was excessively painful and traumatic for the toddler.

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

Although the court did not convict the doctor, practitioners ceased circumcision operations.

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 to have the procedure forbidden.

Ulrich Wimmer, spokesman for the Lichtenberg district court where the case was filed, said an experienced judge would be deciding Friday if the piercing artist and the parents had legal authority to pierce. He said he knew of no similar case in German courts before.

The girl's parents have demanded 70 euros (88 dollars) from the woman who carried out the piercing, alleging their daughter cried in pain during the procedure and was still traumatized three days later.

Detlef Niegisch, a Berlin tattoo and piercing artist, said he had no hesitation about piercing children.

“The complaint by these parents is ridiculous,” he said. “Everyone knows it hurts to get your ears pierced. - Sapa-dpa

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