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A teenage girl who was forced into a marriage is pictured in her town in South Sudan.
Mariah Quesada/AP
Girls & Women

Sudan Teen Faces Renewed Threat of Death Penalty for Stabbing Rapist Husband


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Women are unfairly trapped in child marriages and targeted for rape by husbands throughout the world. You can stand with Global Citizen by taking action here to support the UN’s Global Goal for gender equality.

A Sudanese teen is facing renewed threats of execution for killing her husband during an attempted rape.

Noura Hussein, 19, gained global attention in May when a Sharia court sentenced her to death for stabbing her husband as he tried to rape her. The verdict was appealed, but now prosecutors are attempting to overturn that decision and reinstate the execution sentence, reports the Guardian.

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“We reiterate our calls to the Sudanese authorities to ensure that the rule of law is observed,” said Judy Gitau, a human rights lawyer at Equality Now, which is campaigning on Hussein’s behalf. “The Sudanese government took a positive step forward for women’s and girls’ rights by overturning Noura’s death sentence. There should be no regression on this.”

Hussein’s story — married off at 16 to her 35-year-old cousin, who then raped her — triggered an outpouring of global support under hashtag #JusticeForNoura, including an online petition with over 1.5 million signatures appealing for clemency.

But the state prosecutor on Hussein’s case has appealed to have her current sentence of five years and a fine of 337,500 Sudanese SDG (nearly $19,000 USD) overturned, according to a statement from Equality Now. He has also filed a petition for the death penalty to be reinstated.

Sudan allows girls as young as 10 to be wed. More than a third of girls in Sudan are married before they turn 18, according to the UN, and 12% before they reach 15.

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The teen’s legal team contend that on on Aug. 8, her legal appeal was “withdrawn under suspicious circumstances,” including a notice filed by a lawyer who is not on record for the case.

Since the initial appeal, Hussein’s family has been repeatedly threatened and intimidated both publicly and privately. In an interview with a Sudanese newspaper, the father of the deceased's father threatened the life of one of Hussein’s male relatives if she was pardoned.

She remains in prison and her parents' home was subsequently burned down.

Equality Now has been working on Hussein’s case with partners in Sudan and international activists since May. In addition to calling upon the Sudanese government to grant Noura full freedom, the group is campaigning for Sudan to introduce laws to protect women and girls.

Supporters can send letters of concern to Sudan’s attorney general, Omer Ahmed Mohamed, the justice minister Dr Idris Ibrahim Jameel, and the National Commission for Human Rights of Sudan, according to the Guardian.