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Sudan: Nura’s lawyers appealed the court’s death sentence

Saturday 26 May 2018, by siawi3

Source: http://time.com/5291162/justice-for-noura-hussein-sudan-death-penalty-rape/

Global Campaign Seeks to Overturn Death Penalty for Sudanese Teen Who Killed Her Rapist

By Laignee Barron

May 25, 2018

Lawyers are trying to save the life of a Sudanese teenager sentenced to death for killing her husband while he tried to rape her. As the defense team appealed the court verdict on Thursday, a global petition has gained over one million signatures, as well as celebrity backing.

Naomi Campbell, Mira Sorvino and Emma Watson have joined the campaign to overturn 19-year-old Noura Hussein’s death penalty.

The case has called attention to issues around forced marriage and women’s rights in Sudan, where girls as young as 10 can be legally married and courts do not consider marital rape a crime, according to Human Rights Watch.

When she was 15 years old, Hussein’s family married her to an older man, but she ran away to her aunt’s house, CNN reports. Three years later, her father forced her back into her husband’s family.

After Hussein refused to have sex with the man, he raped her while his brother and cousins held her down, according to CNN. When the man attempted to rape her again the following day, she stabbed him to death. Her own parents turned her over to the police.

Hussein’s lawyers submitted evidence of her struggle, including bite marks on her shoulder, cuts on her hand and a broken bed. The husband’s family denied the rape allegation, citing the couple’s marriage. The court found Hussein guilty and sentenced her to death by hanging.

“Noura and indeed the women and girls of Sudan have too often been treated as chattel to be traded and given away as though they are property,” activists with the Justice for Noura campaign said in a statement. “Here today, united and in one voice we wish to say — enough!”

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/may/24/sudanese-teenager-who-killed-rapist-husband-appeals-death-sentence-forced-marriage-noura-hussein

Sexual violence
Women’s rights and gender equality

Sudanese teenager who killed rapist husband appeals death sentence

Noura Hussein, whose case has been taken up by Naomi Campbell and Emma Watson, vows to help other women forced to marry

Supported by MaMa and AWID

Peter Beaumont and Zeinab Mohammed Salih in Khartoum

Thu 24 May 2018 18.12 BST
Last modified on Thu 24 May 2018 18.14 BST

The case of teenager Noura Hussein, who faces the death sentence in Sudan for killing her husband as he tried to rape her, has highlighted the issue of forced marriage in Sudan and beyond. Photograph: Mariah Quesada/AP

The lawyers for a young Sudanese woman sentenced to death for killing her husband as he tried to rape her have formally appealed the ruling as a petition calling for her to be spared reached a million signatures.

The legal team working on behalf of 19-year-old Noura Hussein, whose case has become an international cause celebre, had until Thursday to file an appeal to the death sentence handed down by a Sudanese court 15 days ago.
Sudan urged to pardon teenager facing death for killing husband who raped her
Read more

High-profile figures have joined the campaign to get the sentence overturned, among them the model Naomi Campbell, actors Mira Sorvino, Emma Watson and Rose McGowan, and Julia Gillard, the former Australian prime minister.

Ahead of the appeal, Hussein told the Guardian from prison in the city of Omdurman that, if she was pardoned, she planned to study law to help others.

“When I get out of here, I want to study law to defend other oppressed people,” she said.

Her case has underlined the issue of forced marriage, including minors, and women’s rights in the Sudanese courts system.

Forcibly married by her family at 16 to an older man chosen by her father, Noura fled to take refuge at an aunt’s house. But after three years she was tricked into returning home by her own family, who then handed her over to her husband’s family.

Noura was a victim of child marriage, forced marriage, rape … and now she could lose her life for defending herself
Noura Hussein’s legal team

According to her supporters – including the activist group Equality Now, which is backing a petition organised on her behalf – Hussein had been with her husband for six days when he raped her with the assistance of his brother, a relative, and a witness, who held her down.

When he attempted to rape her again the following day, she stabbed her husband to death before going to her own parents, who handed her over to police.

One of her lawyers, Ahmer Sibair, said forced marriage was a familiar problem in Sudan. “Marrying girls and women without their consent is common in Sudan, and it causes so many problems. They marry a girl as a child and without her consent, and so many of them lost their chances to be educated.”

Sibiar added that Noura, although she seemed “strong and coherent”, did not “understand her situation”.

Activists who have been supporting her in her legal process cautioned that, despite the appeal against her conviction and death sentence, it could take months for the appeal court to rule.

Equality Now, which has been working with a local partner in Sudan, released a copy of the appeal, which argued that Hussein was the victim in the case after killing her rapist while she defended herself.

“Noura was a victim of child marriage, forced marriage, rape and denial of justice,” her legal team said in a statement.

“As if that was not enough, she now is at the brink of losing her life for defending herself from violence, where law, tradition and culture failed her.

“Noura and indeed the women and girls of Sudan have too often been treated as chattels to be traded and given away as though they are property, and as though they have no rights.

“Here today, united and in one voice we wish to say – ‘Enough!’ We want to turn on the light against perpetrators who prey on children and women, violate them and expect protection from the law.”