Noura, a young Sudanese girl was forcefully married off at 16 years of age, despite her protestations, the significantly older man she was forced to marry, raped her whilst three of his male relatives pinned her down. When he attempted to rape her yet again, Noura fought him off, stabbing him with a knife in self-defense. The man died and Noura was convicted of murder and on the 10th of May, 2018, she was sentenced to hang.
When the news of Noura Hussein’s death sentence verdict broke, Equality Now not only mobilized resources, but immediately got in touch with global as well as partners on the ground in Sudan. It was a race against time, to ensure that Noura is saved from the hangman’s noose.
“I cannot imagine how a victim who is fighting a rapist is convicted to die! Sudan must surely do Noura justice and set her free. Noura did not get a fair trial. My hope is that the judges of the Appeal Court will reverse the decision taking into account her claim of self-defense from rape!” Faiza Mohamed, Africa director – Equality Now
Weeks after the verdict, there is a resounding call to overturn the death verdict on Noura: Equality Now has reached over 1.3 billion people through 700 news stories generated about Noura’s case; an appeal to overturn the ruling was filed on the 24th of May, 2018; over 1.3 million people around the world have signed a petition via change.org, and Equality Now and partners are working on championing the process to reform oppressive laws.
Equality Now has received reports of numerous cases involving girls forced to become child brides and subsequently sexually violated by the ‘husbands’ and in some instances, abetted by family members.
Please call on the government of Sudan to fulfil its regional and international human rights obligations by:
- Dropping all criminal charges against Noura, and ceasing any further legal action to have her executed.
- Reviewing the penal code on rape, and specifically criminalize marital rape
- Enacting laws that protect women and girls from all forms of sexual violence including rape and child, early and forced marriage.
No rape victim should be punished for defending herself. Noura’s name gives us all the hope and strength to keep speaking until all women and girls are free from child marriage and violence.