Court overturns death sentence for 19-year-old convicted of killing husband as he attempted to rape her

Noura Hussein. (Twitter / Amnesty International)

An appeals court in Sudan has overturned the death sentenced handed to a 19-year-old woman who was convicted in the killing of her husband, whom she’d been forced to marry. She has said he raped her.

In May, a Islamic court convicted Noura Hussein of premeditated murder after she fatally stabbed her husband, Abdulrahman Mohamed Hammad, while he raped her. Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging, a ruling that drew global outright and ignited campaigns to save her by human rights groups.

Hussein had been forced to marry Hammad, her cousin, at the age of 16. He was 32 at the time. When she refused to consummate the marriage, she said, Hammad recruited family members to hold her down while he raped her. “He stripped and had me while I wept and screamed,” she told CNN, adding that the attack left her practically comatose. The next day, he attempted to rape her again, but she grabbed a knife and stabbed him to death, she recalled.

News of the court’s ruling that overturned the death sentence was well received by activists who had campaigned on her behalf. Hussein, however, must still serve five years in prison, per the appeals court’s ruling.

Zainab Ahmed, Hussein’s mother, said she was relieved that her daughter’s life was spared. She told the BBC that her daughter “hated herself” after she was raped by her husband, and that the attack had left her feeling suicidal — a feeling she’d already been grappling with since learning of the arranged marriage.

Noura Hussein on her wedding day alongside the man she was forced to marry, her cousin Abdulrahman Mohamed Hammad. (YouTube / Al Jazeera)

“She had got a knife ready to take her own life if he touched her again,” she said. Instead, she turned it on him. In a horrible twist, after Hammad died from his stab wounds, Hussein told her family what happened. Fearing retribution, Hussein’s father took the entire family to the local police station for protection. Instead, they arrested the teen.

In Sudan, families can marry off children when they reach the age of 10. Below, listen to a narrator tell Houssein’s her chilling story in the teens own words, which were obtained and translated by CNN.

Read the full story at the BBC.

CORRECTION: The above audio produced by CNN does not feature the voice of Noura Hussein, as a previous version of this article stated. The voice of a narrator is heard in the audio.


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