The United Nations and other international rights groups are calling on Sudan’s president to revoke a death sentence handed down to a 19 year old girl for killing a man during rape.
The 19-year-old girl Noura Hussein was forced by her father at the age of 16 to marry the deceased who happens to be her cousin.
She had refused to accept the union and reportedly sought refuge with a relative for three years.
Reuters reported that upon her return to her family home on the outskirts of the capital Khartoum last month, preparations were still ongoing for her wedding ceremony.
Hussein had refused to have sex with her husband after the wedding ceremony, but was raped by her husband while three of his male relatives held her down. When Hussein’s husband tried raping her the next day she stabbed him, killing him in the process.
But a Sudanese Sharia court, using Islamic religious law convicted the teenager and found her guilty of premeditated murder. She is to be hanged to death as a punishment, a verdict her lawyers could appeal within the next 15 days.
The UN Women, UN Population Fund and UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa on Sunday appealed to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to pardon the girl.
In a joint statement the groups said “Reports indicate that she was forced against her will into marriage at the age of 16. She was raped by her husband while his three male relatives held her down”.
“Speaking as the voices of women and girls of the world, we plead with the government of Sudan to save the life of Hussein” the statement added.
Sudanese law permits that girls are married off when they reach puberty stages. The law also allows for a 10-year-old girl to be married by their guardian with the permission of a judge.