| Sudan teen files appeal against death sentence: lawyer

A Sudanese teenager sentenced to death for killing her husband after he allegedly raped her has filed an appeal, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Noura Hussein had been found guilty of the “intentional murder” of the man her father had forced her to marry at the age of 16, who she said had raped her.

Her death sentence triggered international outrage and condemnation from the United Nations and global rights groups.

“Today, we filed an appeal in the appeals court against the lower court‘s ruling,” lawyer Al-Fateh Hussein, a member of Hussein‘s defence team, told AFP.

“It might be months before the appeals court delivers its ruling.”

Activists have launched a campaign called “Justice for Noura”, with many changing their profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook to a painting depicting a white veil and clenched fists.

The United Nations has slammed the death sentence handed to Hussein, now aged 19.

“We have received information that Hussein‘s forced marriage, rape, and other forms of gender-based violence against her were not taken into account by the court as evidence to mitigate the sentence,” UN rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters last week in Geneva.

She added that the “most stringent guarantees of a fair trial and due process were not fulfilled”.

Shamdasani said the agency was “acutely concerned about her safety and that of her lawyer and other supporters”.

Rights group Amnesty International says Hussein was forcibly married at the age of 16, and that when she refused to consummate the marriage, her husband invited two of his brothers and a male cousin to help him rape her.

When he tried to rape her a second time, she stabbed him to death, said Amnesty.

Sudanese law allows children above 10 to be married.

The UN spokesperson urged Sudan to amend its laws to criminalise domestic violence and marital rape, and stressed that it had the opportunity with Hussein‘s case “to send a clear message that gender-based violence will not be tolerated in the country.”

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