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Sudanese teenager facing the death penalty after killing her rapist in self-defence

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Over 700,000 people have signed a petition demanding justice for Sudanese teenager Noura Hussein who has been given the death penalty for killing her husband after he raped her.

On Thursday, 19-year-old Hussein was sentenced to death after her husband's family refused financial compensation. 

Hussein was taken to a women’s prison in Omdurman, Sudan, last year for the crime.

At 16, Hussein said she was being forced to marry her cousin. She refused and left the family home to stay with her aunt nearly 250 kilometres away. She lived with her family for three years before her father tricked her into believing that the wedding was cancelled. 

In Sudan, the legal age of marriage is only 10.

After the wedding ceremony, Hussein said she refused to consummate the marriage.

On the sixth night, Hussein said her husband raped her, while several of his male relatives held her down. Marital rape is not recognised as a crime in Sudan.

The next night, she said her husband tried to rape her. again She struggled against him, escaped into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and fatally stabbed him.

After this event, she went to her family for help. Her father turned her in to the police.

The court gave the husband’s family the option to pardon her, which they rejected. The family also had the choice to accept money as compensation, another option they rejected.

The family requested Hussein be executed.

In the sharia court, Islamic religious laws are followed. When Hussein was found guilty of premeditated murder, the court sentenced her to death by hanging.

Many organizations worldwide have spoken out in support of Hussein including Amnesty International has launched a campaign urging people to contact the Ministry of Justice on behalf of Hussein.

UN Women, UN Population Fund and the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa released a joint statement asking for clemency in the Hussein case.

“Speaking as the voices of women and girls of the world, we plead with the government of Sudan to save the life of Hussein,” the statement reads.

The European Union Delegation also issued a statement highlighting its opposition to the death penalty.

Hussein’s lawyers have until May 25 to appeal the decision.

Featured image from petition

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