DUBAI/KHARTOUM: A Sudanese teenager convicted of stabbing her husband to death after he raped her, has had her death sentenced reversed, her lawyer said.
A lower court had sentenced Noura Hussein to death in May, 2018, after she was convicted of stabbing her husband in April 2017.
The court had previously heard she had been forced to marry the man by her father when she was 16.
Her husband then raped her while his relatives pinned her down.
After the attack she stabbed him to death and she was arrested soon after and subsequently sentenced to death on her conviction in May, 2017.
But the death sentence triggered international outrage from the United Nations and global rights groups, and her lawyer filed an appeal against the lower court's ruling on May 25, 2018.
And on June 26 the Sudanese court lifted the death sentence after her conviction of premeditated murder was cancelled.
Hussein was instead convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years and time already served.
“The appeals court has cancelled her execution and sentenced her to five years in jail,” Hussein's lawyer Al-Fateh Hussein told AFP.
“The jail term is effective from the time she was arrested,” he said, adding that his client had also been fined 337,500 Sudanese pounds ($12,000).
“We are very pleased that Noura has won the court appeal against her death sentence, and we celebrate it as a positive step for both her, and women and girls generally in Sudan,” women’s rights NGO EqualityNow’s human rights lawyer Judy Gitau told Arab News.
“However, sentencing her to five years in prison and a fine for defending herself against her rapist is still not acceptable and we are looking at next steps to support her,” she added.
Hussein, now 19, has been held in a women's prison since May 2017.
Amnesty International, which had been part of a "Justice For Noura" campaign, confirmed Hussein's death sentence had been scrapped.
“The progress in #justicefornoura case is rooted in the Noura's hope, the dedication of her team and the solidarity of millions of activists around the world,” Gitau said.
“This is a tremendous decision. It marks a departure from the days when everyone would watch quietly as women and girls are brutalized and criminalized for speaking up about their rights. It says to the women and girls of Sudan- you are not alone,” she added.
Hussein was wed against her will to Abdulrahman Hammad, with the initial marriage ceremony involving the signing of a contract between her father and her husband.
In April 2017, she was forced to move into her husband's home after completing high school, Amnesty International said in May.
When she refused to consummate the marriage, her husband invited two of his brothers and a male cousin to help him rape her.
“On May 2, 2017, the three men held Noura Hussein down while Abdulrahman raped her,” the rights group said in a statement.
“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.”
Hussein fled to her family home after the incident but her father handed her to the police, Amnesty International said.
At her trial in July 2017, the court found her guilty of "intentional murder" after applying an “outdated law that does not recognize marital rape,” the statement added.
There has been increased protest in recent years against child marriage in Sudan, where legally those over the age of 10 can marry.