Activists in Sudan are rallying to help Noura Hussein, a 19-year-old woman, who may face the death penalty for killing her husband after he raped her.
Hussein was only 16 years old when her parents forced her to marry her cousin in 2014, according to her lawyer. While she signed the marriage contract against her will in El Gezira state, south of Khartoum, she fled to a relative's house in eastern Sudan before the ceremony could be completed.
Three years later, however, her father tricked her into coming back and she was sent with her husband, who immediately started forcing her to consummate the marriage.
After Hussein repeatedly refused his advances, her husband raped her. Some members of his family allegedly helped him commit the heinous crime. When he tried to assault her again, the next day, she stabbed him multiple times in the chest, stomach and back, killing him.
The woman went to her parents after which her father reported her to the police.
7D News reports she spent around a year in Omdurman’s women’s prison.
Activists have rallied in Sudan in Hussein's defense, arguing she does not deserve to be punished because not only was she subjected to marital rape, she was also a victim of child marriage.
A 19 year old Sudanese girl, Noura Hussein, was forcefully married to a man at 16, ran away to her aunt's for 3 years and was tricked by her dad to going back to him. Refusing to consumate their marriage, her husband got his cousins to pin her down while he raped her.— Yousra Elbagir (@YousraElbagir) May 3, 2018
A Sudanese girl, Noura Hussein, is being charged with premeditated murder. She was forcefully engaged by her family at the age of 16 leading to her refusing consummation. She was held down (by her husbands cousins) and raped. She is now facing the death penalty. #JusticeForNoura— Mr. Feder (@misterfeder) May 3, 2018
noura hussein has been sentenced to be executed on the 10th of May for killing her husband in self defence, who raped her while other men pinned her down, and when he tried to rape her again, she fought back. sign this petition if you'd like:https://t.co/NZh99kqleI pic.twitter.com/kZKuK4T79n— nate (@kissmylipa) May 6, 2018
Noura Hussein, a 16 year old girl from Sudan, was forcefully married without her consent to a man she didn't want.— Leyla ali tarabi ????????? (@somalianting) May 3, 2018
The man waited a few days to consummate the marriage, when he couldn't wait anymore he gathered some of his male friends to hold Noura down whilst he raped her.
However, Sudanese law makes it very difficult for women like Hussein to receive justice, primarily because when a woman reports rape it is often seen as an admission of "zina," the Islamic term for sex outside marriage. It is a punishable offense in many Muslim-majority countries.
The concept of marital rape often does not exist in these countries at all, since sexual violation at the hands of one's husband is not considered a sin, which is why Hussein's case is so challenging.
In an interview with 7D News, Hussein revealed how she wanted to be a teacher. However, her ordeal has made it almost impossible for her to pursue her dreams.
“It was a shocking moment when the judge convicting me with murder. I knew then that I will be executed, leaving my dreams unfulfilled. I was rushed with the feeling of sorrow and regret, but it was my fate, and I accepted it," she stated. “My morale was getting worse every day, I eventually became hopeless.”
Hussein has been found guilty of attempted murder. Under Sudanese law, the crime is punishable by execution, generally by hanging.
The final verdict will be pronounced on May 10.
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