The government of Sudan is facing international pressure to release Noura Hussein, a 19-year-old Sudanese girl sentenced to death for killing her husband after he repeatedly raped her. Using the Twitter hashtag #JusticeForNoura, activists around the world including celebrities have been pressurizing the Sudanese government to release her unconditionally.
Like it is the case with many girls in Sudan, or even in neighboring Uganda, Noura Hussein was given away for marriage to a man twice her age while at the mere age of 16. She was resistant to the idea and preferred education to marriage. Seeing her father was determined to marry her off, she ran away from home and went to live with a relative about 155 miles away.
After three years of living with the relative, Noura’s father called and convinced her to return home as the marriage had been canceled. To her surprise, it turned out her father had tricked her as she was married off immediately after she came back.
Having no choice, she went to live with the husband but refused to consummate the marriage. As a result, her husband brought in his male relatives who pinned her down as he raped her. The following day, the husband attempted to rape her again, but she stabbed him with a knife in self-defense and killed him. Upon realization of what transpired, her father disowned her and called the police.
On April 29, 2018, a year later as Noura had been detained in May 2017, she was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death by hanging. According to Sudanese law, neither her husband nor her father had done anything wrong. Forced marriage, child marriage and marital rape are all allowed by law in Sudan.
The death sentence sparked an outrage where brave Muslim women, lawyers and activists in Sudan vowed to appeal and obtain justice for Noura. As a result, the #JusticeForNoura campaign was born with activists, students, celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, and people across the world pressurizing and chiding the government of Sudan for gross abuse of women’s rights.
Thanks to the campaign, the death sentence for Noura Hussein was overturned on June 26, 2018, and reduced to a five-year prison term with a penalty of $19,000. Activists were relieved that the death sentence had been reversed, but many still felt it was too harsh for her. Citing uncertainties ahead, her legal team, which has been offering services pro bono, has now appealed for her unconditional release. They have also created a website to keep followers updated on the progress of the legal processes.
According to the website, here is how you can help the #JusticeForNoura campaign;
- Sign this petition on change.org and raise awareness by circulating the story.
- Send letters of love and emotional support to Noura through [email protected]
- Donate to the legal team or other teams around the world taking on initiatives such as this.
- Checking the #JusticeForNoura website for periodic updates
The plight of Noura has brought the attention of the world to some of the troubling affairs in Sudan. To learn more about Noura’s plight you can watch the video below.