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Sudan Court Commutes Death Sentence for Teen in Marital Rape Case

Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – 4:52 PM

(AFP) A Sudanese court Tuesday commuted the death sentence of a teenager for killing her husband who she said had raped her, instead imposing a five-year jail term, her lawyer said.

A lower court had sentenced Noura Hussein to death for the “intentional murder” of her husband, whom she said raped her after being forced to marry him at the age of 16 by her father.

The death sentence triggered outrage from the United Nations and global rights groups, and her lawyer filed an appeal against the initial ruling.

“The appeals court has cancelled her execution and sentenced her to five years in jail,” Hussein’s lawyer Al-Fateh Hussein told AFP.

“The jail term is effective from the time she was arrested,” he said, adding that his client had also been ordered to pay 337,500 Sudanese pounds ($12,000) as blood money to her husband’s family.

Hussein, now aged 19, has been held in a women’s prison since May 2017.

Amnesty International, which had been part of a “Justice For Noura” campaign, welcomed the decision to commute her sentence.

The ruling “must now lead to a legal review to ensure that Noura Hussein is the last person to go through this ordeal,” Seif Magango, Amnesty’s regional deputy director, said in a statement.

Hussein was the victim of a “brutal attack” by her husband and acted in self defence, Magango added, arguing the five-year jail term was a “disproportionate punishment”.

“The Sudanese authorities must take this opportunity to start reforming the laws around child marriage, forced marriage and marital rape, so that victims are not the ones who are penalised.”

Hussein was wed against her will to Abdulrahman Hammad, with the initial marriage ceremony involving the signing of a contract between her father and her husband.

In April 2017, she was forced to move into her husband’s home after completing high school, Amnesty said in May.

When she refused to consumate the marriage, her husband on May 2 invited two of his brothers and a male cousin to help him rape her.

“The next morning he tried to rape her again but she managed to escape to the kitchen where she grabbed a knife.

“In the ensuing scuffle, Abdulrahman sustained fatal knife wounds.”

Hussein later fled to her family home but her father handed her to the police, Amnesty said.

During her trial in July 2017, the court found her guilty of “intentional murder” after applying an outdated law that does not recognise marital rape, it added.

There has been increased protest in recent years against child marriage in Sudan, where legally those over the age of 10 can marry.

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© Agence France-Presse

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