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19-Year-Old Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Rapist Husband

Credit%3A+Ahmed+M%27ayyed
Credit: Ahmed M'ayyed

Credit: Ahmed M'ayyed

Credit: Ahmed M'ayyed

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Noura Hussein, a 19-year-old Sudanese woman, is sentenced to death for fatally stabbing the man her father forced her to marry.

Hussein was 16 when her father decided that she should be wed. She refused the marriage, but her father went along with the preparations anyway. She ran away from her home in and went to live with her aunt, out of fear her father would follow through with the marriage.

After three years, Hussein’s father contacted her, explaining that the wedding was off. She believed her father and returned home, only to find that the planning of the union was still underway.

Hussein was trapped, forced to marry a man she did not know.

For the first four days of the marriage, Hussein refused to consummate the marriage. Her “husband” decided to take the initiative, calling his cousins to hold her down while he proceeded to violently rape Hussein.

The next day, when he returned to rape her again, Hussein found a knife, fought back, and killed him.

She ran away from the house and told her family what she had done. Hussein’s father, angry and ashamed, turned her in to the police that same day.

The 19-year-old woman was arrested for premeditated murder. Hussein was abandoned by her friends and family because they did not want to face the shame of being associated with her.

The judge of the case used Hussein’s desertion as a tool against her, believing that if her loved ones have disowned her, then it must mean she is guilty. Thursday afternoon, the court sentenced Hussein to death by hanging.

“Under Sharia law, the husband’s family can demand either monetary compensation or death,” said Badr Eldin Salah, an activist from the Afrika Youth Movement. “They chose death, and now the death penalty has been handed down.”

Hussein’s lawyers are attempting to appeal the case and the death penalty, but unfortunately, the legal system is not on their side.

The sentencing of Hussein for killing her rapist husband in self-defense highlights the failure of the authorities to tackle child marriage, forced marriage, and marital rape.

Child marriage and marital rape are prominent issues in Islamic countries, so many courts have taken action against the crimes. However, Sudanese courts do not often abide by Islamic law and jurisdiction.

In Sudan, marital rape is not recognized. Moreover, it is legal for a father to marry away his daughter without her consent. This is not in accordance with Islamic law, where for a marriage to be valid, the woman must consent.

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, states, “It is forbidden to inherit women against their will, nor should ye treat them with harshness.” This conveys that forced marriages are viewed as a sin, and are therefore not legal in the eyes of Allah.

The harrowing details of Hussein’s circumstances have set social media ablaze. In recent days, her case has captured international attention with the hashtags #JusticeforNoura and #SaveNoura trending on Twitter.

One user, @TheRealOlaDiab, tweeted that “Marital rape is morally, ethically and religiously wrong. It’s time for the law in #Sudan to recognize that and make marital rape illegal. #JusticeforNoura.”

Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher, Ahmed Elzobier, said this was the first time a case of this nature had attracted such attention. Hussein could potentially help the innumerable amount of Muslim women being forced to marry due to their country’s lack of accordance with Sharia law.

“Marital rape happens in Sudan often, and people don’t talk about it, Hussein’s case has changed that.”

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Ainsley Holman '18, Staff Writer/Editor

Ainsley Holman is a senior from Dallas, Texas. When not in school, she enjoys dancing and spending time with her friends.

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19-Year-Old Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Rapist Husband