11 May 2018

Sudan: Woman to Hang for Killing Husband Who 'Raped Her'

Omdurman — The 19-year-old Sudanese woman who said she was raped by the man she was forced to marry, has been sentenced to death for fatally stabbing him on Thursday. Her case has captured international attention.

On Thursday, the Omdurman Wasat Court in the twin city of Khartoum, sentenced Noura Hussein to death by hanging after being convicted for murdering her husband. Hussein has claimed that she refused to consummate the marriage after which her husband's relatives held her down while he raped her.

Her husband's family refused an option to pardon her and rejected financial compensation, requesting that she be executed instead.

The Sudanese security apparatus banned women from the premises of the court as they organised to stage a protest there to denounce the Sudanese laws that are abusive against women. Amira Osman, leader of the Sudanese No Suppression to Women Initiative, told Radio Dabanga that the security service even confiscated the banners prepared by their initiative.

"The court session was delayed for two hours amid a heavy presence of security and police forces in front of the court. They carried electric batons, and forced the attendees of the trial to leave the room after the hearing."

The Sudanese No to Suppression of Women Initiative had launched a campaign against the ruling. Internationally, the case of Noura Hussein has raised attention to the issues of forced marriage and marital rape in Sudan. The legal age of marriage is 10 and marital rape goes unpunished.

With the hashtag #JusticeForNoura and #SaveNoura many rights activists have expressed their comdenmnation of the unjust punishment. Amnesty International's Seif Magango told CNN that "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".

Death sentences

It is not the first time that a Sudanese court has punished a raped woman for committing a crime. A pregnant 18-year old Ethiopian woman reportedly raped by seven Sudanese men in Omdurman city in August 2013 was found guilty of committing 'indecent acts' in February 2014.

A Sudanese Christian woman, pregnant at the time, was also sentenced to death on 11 May 2014 by a Khartoum court for not renouncing her Christian faith. Maryam Yahya Ibrahim was also charged with adultery, since her marriage with a Christian man is prohibited in Islam. She was forced to give birth in chains in the Federal Women's Prison in Omdurman.

Ibrahim was freed from prison after an appeals court found the lower court's death penalty sentence to be unfounded. Ibrahim and her husband, who also has the US nationality, went with their children to Khartoum airport to leave the country for the US, but were arrested again. Several days later, they managed to flee to Italy.

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