Sudanese woman faces death for killing alleged rapist husband

Human rights group Equality Now has started a campaign to appeal Noura Hussein's death sentence in Sudan.
Human rights group Equality Now has started a campaign to appeal Noura Hussein's death sentence in Sudan. Photo credit: Equality Now

A young woman in Sudan has been sentenced to death for killing her husband after he allegedly raped her. 

Noura Hussein, 19, was given the death penalty by a judge on Thursday after the family of her husband rejected the possibility of financial compensation, the Guardian reported. 

The family opted to have Ms Hussein sentenced to death, and her legal team now has just 15 days to appeal the sentence. 

Ms Hussein told reporters after her sentence: "It was a shocking moment when the judge convicted me with murder. I knew that I (would) be executed, leaving my dreams unfulfilled."

Ms Hussein was forced into marriage at 16. She fled to an aunt's house after the marriage where she lived for a three years but she claims her family tricked her into returning home, according to a petition organised on Hussein's behalf by Human rights group Equality Now. 

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. She was allegedly raped by her husband with help from his brother, a relative, and a witness. 

When her husband tried to rape her again, she stabbed him to death. 

"Our society holds women accountable for the heinous actions of men, and then tells them to grin and bear it," says the Equality Now, which has taken up her case.

The case has attracted widespread attention on social media. The hashtag #JusticeForNoura has been trending on Twitter with people expressing their outrage at her death sentence. 

One user wrote: "sudani (sic) men who won't speak up for women under oppression, your silence is an act of violence too."

One supporter, who attended the hearing, posted on Twitter that no one from Ms Hussein's family was there to support her. 

Amnesty International has warned of increasing human rights violations in Sudan ahead of the country's referendum on southern independence on January 9, 2011. 

Widespread human rights abuses by the government and armed groups are a daily occurrence in Sudan, the organisation claims. 

Following confirmation of Ms Hussein's sentence, Equality Now said it would be writing to the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, to ask for clemency, the Guardian reported.