Sudanese teenager sentenced to death for killing husband while raping her

Sunday, May 13, 2018

On Thursday, a court in Omdurman, Sudan, confirmed death penalty for a nineteen-year-old woman, Noura Hussein who was previously found guilty of premeditated murder of her husband. Hussein, who was married to Abdulrahman Hammad at the age of sixteen, said she stabbed her husband in self-defence during a second rape. Hammad's family declined money for Hammad's killing, and the shari'a court announced death by hanging.

Hussein said she was married at the age of sixteen against her will, after which she took shelter at her aunt's home for three years. According to reports, when Hussein was nineteen, she returned home to visit but her father sent her to her in-laws. She refused to have sex with Hammad and she said she was raped six days later by her husband with assistance from Hammad's relatives. She stabbed Hammad the next day when he tried to rape her again. According to Amnesty International, Noura Hussein's father handed her to police after she fled to her home after stabbing Hammad.

Sudan is a Muslim-majority country governed by shari'a law. Marital rape and child marriage are not illegal in Sudan. The legal age for girls to get married is the age of ten with the consent of guardians. Noura Hussein said the conviction for murder was "shocking moment" but said she knew she would be executed. "It was a shocking moment when the judge convicted me with murder. I knew then that I [would] be executed, leaving my dreams unfulfilled", the teenager said.

"It was a shocking moment when the judge convicted me with murder. I knew then that I [would] be executed, leaving my dreams unfulfilled"  — ‍Noura Hussein

After the confirmation, Hussein's lawyers were given fifteen days to appeal against it. Afrika Youth Movement's activist Eldin Salah, who attended the court hearing said, "Noura's lawyers say they plan to appeal against the decision, but we also need strong international support from organizations such as the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union to support her." An online petition campaign for Noura Hussein's defence was launched on and Equality Now, and #JusticeForNoura hashtags were trending on Twitter.

Hussein was raped six days after she was with her husband. According to Amnesty International, Noura Hussein was first raped on May 2, 2017, when her husband's cousins restrained her while Hammad was raping her. Next day, when Hammad tried to rape her again, Hussein stabbed him with a knife in self-defence. Hussein has been in jail since May 2017. The July 2017 ruling pronounced it as "intentional murder".

Equality Now said they were writing a mercy plea to the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. Equality Now's Global Director Yasmeen Hassan said, "Noura is a victim, not a criminal, and should be treated as such."