| Europe ambassadors oppose Sudan teen‘s death sentence

European embassies in Sudan on Tuesday expressed joint opposition to the sentencing to death of a Sudanese teenager for killing her husband who allegedly raped her.

A Sudanese court last Thursday condemned to death Noura Hussein Hammad, 19, for the “intentional murder” of the man her father had forced her to marry, in a ruling that has triggered outrage online.

The embassies of EU countries, Norway and Switzerland are “following with close attention and concern the situation of Noura Hussein”, the missions said.

“The Heads of Mission recall their firm opposition to the death penalty, whatever the place and circumstances,” they said in a statement.

Hammad was married against her will to Abdulrahman Hammad at the age of 16 when her father and the husband signed a marriage contract, according to rights group Amnesty International.

In April 2017, under the contract, she was forced to move to her husband‘s home after completing high school.

When Hammad refused to consummate the marriage, her husband invited two of his brothers and a male cousin to help him rape her, Amnesty alleged.

“On 2 May 2017, the three men held Noura Hussein down while Abdulrahman raped her,” it said.

“The next morning he tried to rape her again but she managed to escape to the kitchen where she grabbed a knife. In the ensuing scuffle, Abdulrahman sustained fatal knife wounds.”

Hammad fled to her family home after the incident but her father handed her over to the police, Amnesty said.

At her trial in July 2017, the court found her guilty of “intentional murder” after applying an outdated law that does not recognise marital rape, the rights group added.

Women and children‘s rights activists in Sudan have stepped up a campaign against forced unions and marriage of underage girls, a widespread phenomenon in a country where the law allows children over the age of 10 to marry.

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