Child marriage victim Noura fights for freedom as her lawyers appeal jail sentence

Justice For Noura3 2

Child marriage, Girls' education, Right to education

The case of Noura Hussein - who was originally sentenced to death for killing her husband - sparked a global campaign. 

A Sudanese child bride whose death sentence was overturned after a global outcry has appealed against the decision to jail her for five years instead.

Noura Hussein’s lawyers say the sentence – and an $18,600 fine – is still unfair because she acted in self-defence when she stabbed her 35-year-old husband to death as he tried to rape her.

“The courts of Sudan surely must do right by Noura. Indeed, they must do right by the women and girls of Sudan,” said Judy Gitau, a lawyer with the campaign group Equality Now.

Noura’s plight caused an outcry worldwide. Campaigners, including Theirworld supporters who signed our petition, rallied around the hashtag #JusticeForNoura and the United Nations appealed to the Sudanese government for clemency.

The case shone a spotlight on child marriage – and how it deprives girls of education – along with marital rape and female rights in the northeast African nation.

Noura, who is now 19, was 16 when she was forced into a marriage contract with her cousin – but was allowed to finish school. 

The wedding eventually went ahead near Khartoum and she was raped by her husband as three of his male relatives restrained her. The next day he tried to rape her again and she stabbed him during a struggle.

A court sentenced her to death – but that ruling was overturned on appeal last month and replaced by the five-year jail sentence.

Sudan Most Dangerous Places To Go To School

About 1.5 million girls in Sudan are out of school. A third of Sudanese girls are married before the age of 18 – and one in 10 by 15 (United Nations)

The new appeal seeks her “unconditional freedom” with no fine or jail term to be served.

Gitau said: “This appeal is important because to ask Noura to serve a prison term of any length for fighting off a rapist is to tell the women and girls of Sudan that they do not matter, that they do not have rights – which is not the case.”

Sudanese law allows children above 10 to be married with a judge’s permission. One in three girls are married before they turn 18 and more than one in 10 by the age of 15.

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