Teenager gets death sentence for killing husband who raped her

Nilzete Santos. Image courtesy of Kiratiana Freelon

Nilzete Santos. Image courtesy of Kiratiana Freelon

The legal age of marriage in Sudan is only 10 years old, and marital rape is legal in the country.

Noura Hussein says her father made her contractually marry her cousin when she was 16, but she refused to accept the union and sought refuge with a relative for three years.

When Hussein returned to her home in Khartoum, Ms Hussein says she refused to consummate the marriage, resisting her husband for the first four days.

"Noura Hussein is a victim and the sentence against her is an intolerable act of cruelty", said Amnesty representative Seif Magango. Over 140,000 people have also signed a petition to help her, which you can sign here.

"Noura Hussein's death sentence violates her rights under the Sudanese constitution and worldwide law", Equality Now's letter stated.

"She's still in complete shock after her sentencing", Adil Mohamed Al-Imam, one of the woman's lawyers, told CNN.

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"On 2 May 2017, the three men held Noura Hussein down while Abdulrahman raped her", Amnesty International said.

The Imam also revealed that on the second day the husband tried to rape her, she stabbed him to death.

Cases like Hussein's don't come to light often in Sudan, Salah said, because most young women who experience sexual abuse in marriage "don't raise their voices or say anything because of the social pressure or the social stigma". Hussien's team will reject and appeal the death penalty, as she was defending herself at the time of the killing and was mentally and psychologically disturbed as a result of rape, according to the Guardian. 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. A group of Sudanese and worldwide activists have been visiting Hussein in prison, translating letters of support from across the globe and working with her lawyers to appeal the case. She said that while the rape and harassment of women had always been an issue in Sudan, a case like Hussein's had never gone viral.

"Sudan is an extremely patriarchal place and gender norms are very strongly enforced", she said. SEEMA has been campaigning in support of Hussein.

"The case of Noura is different".

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