Sudan overturns death sentence for teen who killed rapist husband

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A court in Sudan has overturned the death sentence of a teenager who killed her husband after he raped her.

Noura Hussein, who is now 19-years-old, was sentenced to death in May for fatally stabbing her husband shortly after their wedding. Noura was forced to marry the man when she was 15 and maintains she killed him while he was attempting to rape her – a day after his relatives held her down as he raped her for the first time.

Sudan teenager  spared death penalty

Noura Hussein’s legal team says the teen has now been given a five-year jail sentence and ordered to pay 337,000 Sudanese pounds ($18,700) to her husband’s family. However, her lawyers say they plan to appeal both the prison sentence and the compensation order.

Hussein says she was forced to marry her husband at the age of 15 although she was allowed to finish school before the couple were wed in a public ceremony. After refusing to consummate the marriage, she says relatives of her husband held her down while he raped her, nine days after they were married.

The next day, he forced himself upon her once again and she stabbed the man using a knife she says her hand found under the pillow. This was crucial to the court’s decision in overturning Hussein’s death sentence, as they accepted her version of events which contrasted with the prosecution’s claim that she took the knife from the kitchen.

Her court case has captured the attention of world media and put the spotlight on child marriages in Sudan once again, where children as young as 10 are legally allowed to marry and marital rape isn’t a crime.

Amnesty International has responded to the overturning of Noura’s case by insisting the prison sentence and compensation order issued are still disproportionate.

“While the quashing of this death sentence is hugely welcome news, it must now lead to a legal review to ensure that Noura Hussein is the last person to go through this ordeal,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Featured image: By Ahmed Rabea – https://www.flickr.com/photos/99216220@N08/9325962193/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18352153

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.