Noura Hussein Sentenced to Death For Killing Her Rapist

Nilzete Santos. Image courtesy of Kiratiana Freelon

A court in Sudan has sentenced to death a young woman for killing her husband after he allegedly raped her as his male relatives restrained her. On top of that, many are tweeting in support of Noura's freedom under #JusticeForNoura. When the two were alone the next day and he attempted to rape her again, she managed to grab a knife he had used to threaten her and stabbed him to death with it. Forced child marriage and marital rape are not considered crimes in Sudan, and can not be used as evidence in a defence.

Noura Hussein life-long wish was to become a teacher but she ended up being forced to marry an abusive man who raped and brutalized her. "One held her chest and head, the others held her legs", Al-Imam told CNN.

Noura then fled to her family home, but her father handed her over to the police, who opened a case against her.

Sudanese women have been canvassing after they tagged the death sentence of a teenager, Noura Hussein for killing her husband as unfair. "Noura Hussein is a victim and the sentence against her is an intolerable act of cruelty", said Seif Magango, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The petition helps get the attention of media, as well as global (human rights) organizations. Thousands of people have signed petitions in support of Hussein.


Campaign groups such as Equality Now say they are writing to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to plead for clemency, arguing that the judgement is against the Sudanese constitution.

The judgment has raised concerns over the justice system in Sudan, especially when it comes to marital rape. But Hussein's case was different.

"Under Sharia law, the husband's family can demand either monetary compensation or death", Badr Eldin Salah, an activist from the Afrika Youth Movement who was in the court told the agency.

Sudan is ranked 165 out of 188 countries on the U.N.'s Gender Inequality Index, which measures how women fare compared to men when it comes to access to health, education, political participation and employment opportunities.

"The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and to apply it to a rape victim only highlights the failure of the Sudanese authorities to acknowledge the violence she endured". Sudanese law allows children over the age of 10 to marry.

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