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Tuesday 20th March 2018

“I Will Be Executed Before Fulfilling My Dreams”

Interview with Noura Hussein, marital rape survivors in Sudan facing execution

Politics

Murtada Ahmed

Mon, 07 May 2018 17:38 GMT

Filled with sorrow, fear and tears, Noura, recounts the incidents of her forced marriage, rape and attacks by her deceased husband and his relatives. She tells us how she killed him. After spending more than a year in Omdurman’s women’s prison, Noura was found guilty of attempted murder under article 130 of the Sudanese criminal code. She currently waits for the court sentence against her on 10 May, possibly facing the death penalty. Her case captured international attention and solidarity on social media under the hashtag #JusticeforNoura and #SaveNoura. 7Dnews correspondents captured the details of her case in an exclusive interview with Noura.

Let’s see who will kill the other

Noura narrates the incidents of her rape that led to killing of her husband, in April 2017. She recalls, “I was shocked by a number of men breaking into the apartment. I later found out they were my husband’s relatives. They asked me why I am rejecting intercourse with my husband, then they violently beaten me, then grabbed and held me for him. He violently raped me, while they watched him.”

Noura added “He did not get enough. On the next day, he attempted to do the same on his own, but I managed to escape. I ran towards the kitchen where I had taken a knife, and I warned him saying, “please do not get closer to me, or one of us will die today”. He approached me saying “let us see who will kill the other”, he tried to take the knife off my hand. He bit my breast and hurt my hand.” Showing us the marks, she continued, “Then I was able to stab him twice which led to his death.” Noura struggled to reach her village, and when she arrived and told him about the killing, her father handed her over to police and her family denounced her.

Forced into marriage

It is all started three years ago, 70 kilometres south of Khartoum. A man asked her parents if he could marry her when she was only 16-years-old. Noura recalls “I was young and diligent in my studies. I passed the basic school standard exam and got admitted to high-school. My family told me that a man proposed to marry me. Although I had previously told him that I had no intention in marriage and I wanted to pursue my studies.”

Sorrowfully, Noura continued, “After my father insisted on completing the marriage process, I preferred to run away from our village to Sennar in the centre of Sudan. I stayed there for three years with my aunt and completed high school. I was unable to know my high school general score until I was in prison.”

“Three years after the marriage proposal, the late groom called me stating he is no longer interested in me. He convinced me to go back to my family. When I returned home, I found an unpleasant surprise: the wedding ceremony was prepared. Then I was given to him. The marriage ceremony was completed in April 2017. I told the man right away that he is not allowed to touch me.”

I will be killed before fulfilling my dreams

 “It was a shocking moment when the judge convicting me with murder. I knew then that I will be executed leaving my dreams unfulfilled, I was rushed with the feeling of sorrow and regret, but it was my fate, and I accepted it”. She added tearfully, “My morale was getting worse every day, I eventually became hopeless.”

I would have loved to be a teacher

“I dreamt of reaching the highest levels of education and culture in my life. I wanted to join the Faculty of Education, memorise the holy Quran. I would have loved to be a teacher to educate the youth in my village. My dreams turned into a nightmare, I would never expect to reach this fate one day.”

Khartoum is a dark place for me

Noura visited Khartoum, the capital for the first time ever with her deceased husband. She recalls, “It was the first time I had visited the national capital. He took me to an apartment in Almohandeseen neighbourhood. I knew nothing about it, the entire place was dark to me.”

She added “During our first night in that apartment, he told me that as a husband, he is entitled to marital rights (meaning to have sex with her). I harshly and repeatedly said that marrying him was not my choice. “I will be like a sister to you and even when we return home, you are not allowed to touch me,” I told him. We remained like such for six days.” Then he raped her with the assistance of his relatives, on the seventh day.

I was still traumatised in prison

Noura Hussein told the details of her first day in Omdurman women prison, saying, “Even when I was taken to prison, I was in a shock and I could not believe myself, and I thought I was dreaming, but it did not take long for the details of the place to show me that it is reality, a night after another, I have adjusted to the prison society and I have become a part of it, and amongst the prisoners I have found those who were like mothers and sisters to me.”

Noura continued: “There is solidarity in the prison. Inmates have shared their food, drinks, and clothes. They had their family visit them throughout the 12 months I spent with them.”

I was left alone, abandoned

She added: “The fact that they left me alone added to my pain and sorrow. Nobody from my family and relatives visited me in prison or attended my trials, including my aunt in Sennar, whose house I had sought refuge at in the past. I have four brothers and sisters, and my parents. I miss them so much. I spent 12 months, could be more, behind the bars without seeing them. I am not angry at my family despite of what they had done to me, I hope they are all right.”


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