Sudanese woman faces death for killing alleged rapist husband

Hugh Fox
May 12, 2018

Sudanese woman Noura Hussein, 19, has been sentenced to death by hanging for fatally stabbing the man she was forced to marry, whom she claims raped her as his relatives pinned her down. The husband attempted to rape her again the following day, which is when she stabbed him to death. A petition has also got thousands of signatures.

"Noura Hussein is a victim and the sentence against her is an intolerable act of cruelty", said Amnesty representative Seif Magango.

The case of Noura Hussein has shone a spotlight on the issues of forced marriage and marital rape in Sudan, where the legal age of marriage is only 10 and marital rape is legal. She is to be hanged to death as a punishment, a verdict her lawyers could appeal within the next 15 days.

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Hussein fled to her family home after the incident but her father handed her to the police, Amnesty International said. He added that Hussein was abandoned not only by the law, but also by her family.

Hussein's supporters filled the courtroom in Omdurman, Sudan, and overflowed into the hall outside as the judge announced the death penalty on Thursday. Her case, they say, sheds light on a culture that subjects women to male violence, and a broken justice system that renders many women powerless.

Because Noura was a victim of rape, many are calling for her release, and for her not to be punished at all. Groups such as Equality Now are writing to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to plead for clemency. "We have to fight for her", said political activist Amjad Fareed in a Facebook post on Saturday. "Marital rape happens in Sudan often and people don't talk about it", he said. But Hussein's case was different.

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"The Sudanese authorities must abolish this grossly unfair sentence and to ensure that Nura was given a fair re-trial, which takes account of her mitigating circumstances", - said human rights activists.

Sudan ranks 165 of 188 countries on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index 2017, an index that measures women's access to resources and services compared to men, and the country has not yet signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The execution of a young woman, a victim of gender based violence, the group wrote, "is a regress in the eyes of worldwide law and an irreparable damage for Sudan's and perhaps more broadly Africa's global reputation".

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The court sentenced the woman to death.

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