UN, Rights Bodies Ask For Clemency For Sudan Teenager Noura Hussein

Elias Hubbard
May 15, 2018

A 19-year-old Sudanese woman Noura Hussein was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing her husband after he allegedly tried to rape her.

The organisation also "respectfully urged" the president drop all criminal charges against Noura, to review "penal codes" on rape and to create laws to prevent sexual violence against women and children in Sudan. She was married off at the tender age of 16 against her will and she stood up against that and refused to be forced into marriage.

On Thursday, the court sentenced her to death after her husband's family rejected the alternative of receiving financial compensation. Hussein however refused to consummate the marriage and after six days of abstaining her husband raped her with the help of three of his male relatives.

It prompted UN Women, UN Population Fund and UN office of the special adviser on Africa to pen a joint statement, "speaking as the voices of women and girls of the world", to "plead with the government of Sudan to save the life of Hussein".

A change.org petition titled Justice for Noura, was set up on April 10 and has gathered over 530,000 signatures.

Sudan is also obligated, under several worldwide legal instruments, to prevent victims from being criminalised and to ensure that men and women are treated equality in the eyes of the law. That was May 3 past year and Hussein has been in prison since. When she went to her parents for support, they turned her in to the police.

The campaign has sparked a plethora of responses from human rights organisations and activists worldwide calling for action against this ruling. In April 2017, Hussein returned to her home after her father announced that the marriage had been revoked; however, the announcement was a trap.

Equality Now argued that the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law should be followed, and that Sudan should adhere to worldwide standards on women's rights.

"'The Constitution provides that the 'state shall protect women from injustice and promote gender equality" and that "all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination, to the equal protection of the law".

The said instruments are the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). He added that Hussein was abandoned not only by the law, but also by her family. Later, she was sent to her husband's family, despite her father's claims that the marriage was cancelled. "The courts are saying Noura is guilty of premeditated murder - even though she was defending herself from being raped by a man she was forced to marry when she was just a young teenager", said Amnesty International in a statement.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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