The legal team representing Sudanese teenager Noura Hussein, who killed her 35-year-old husband as he tried to rape her in what she says was self-defense, filed an appeal to Sudan’s Supreme Court on Thursday to have her sentence overturned.
Hussein was on death row for fatally stabbing Abdulrahman Mohamed Hammad until two weeks ago, when an appeals court in Sudan reduced her sentence to five years in jail following an international outcry over her case. The court ordered her family to pay 337,000 Sudanese pounds (about $18,600) in “blood money” to the man’s family.
Her lawyers have also appealed the payment, and asked for $8,000 in compensation.
Hussein’s story has put a spotlight on forced marriage and marital rape in Sudan, where the legal age to enter into marriage is 10 and marital rape is not a crime. And her initial conviction and sentence — death by hanging — triggered global outrage, capturing the attention of human-rights groups and celebrities like model Naomi Campbell, actress Emma Watson and singer Jidenna.
“We are looking for justice,” Nahid Jabralla, director of Khartoum-based human rights group SEEMA, which is supporting Hussein, told CNN. “The appeal will look for her to be cleared totally of the charges.”
But she cautioned that it won’t be without a fight. Hammad’s family denies Hussein’s allegations and continues to contest her case. The family is expected to file its own appeal calling to reinstate the death penalty.
Hussein’s parents forced her to marry Hammad when she was just 15, but allowed her to finish school. Three years later, after a formal public wedding, Hussein alleges that Hammad raped her as his family held her down. One day later, Hussein said, he tried to rape her again, and she stabbed him to death. When she went to her parents for support, they turned her over to the police.