Sodfa Daaji is the Chairwoman of the Gender Equality Committee and the North Africa Coordinator for the Afrika Youth Movement. Here we talk about Noura Hussein Hammad’s urgent case. The hashtag: #JusticeForNoura. Daaji’s email if you would like to sign: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is the baseline description of Hammad’s case?
Sodfa Daaji: Noura is a 19 years old Sudanese woman, victim of gender based violence, marital rape, domestic violence and forced child marriage at the age of 15 years old. At first, Noura tried to change her fate by escaping to stay with her aunt in Sinnar city, but her father convinced her to come back at home.
He has promised her that the wedding was called off, but she has found herself married against her will. She has spent her in Khartoum. The first three days she stood and didn’t want to give up on her right to say no to any intercourse with her husband. Her refusal brought her husband to call his brother and his cousins and on the 4th day he raped her while they were holding her on the floor.
The next day he tried to rape her and, as stated by Noura during a conversation with the activist and director of SEEMA – the organization that is following directly Noura’s case in Sudan – she took a knife and told him “I die or I will die tonight,” while he replied, “Let’s see who will die tonight.”
Noura stabbed him twice and escaped to her parent’s house. After admitting what she committed, her father took her to the police station.
Jacobsen: What is the likely outcome for Hammad?
Daaji: At this point, in my opinion, we should take in consideration different factors. First of all, the condition of human rights in Sudan. We are talking about a case that came out just few days before her trial, and the main reason is behind the way the government is continuously silencing the freedom of press. Secondly, Sudan is under sharia Law and there is not that much space for the judges for interpretation.
Noura was charged under the article 130, even if in Sudan is recognised the marital rape, but they have not taken in consideration her complete case. Another point that I would like to highlight is the fact that she is a woman. We are pressuring for the way women are perceived in the Sudanese society, and how the rape is justified as a normal act, a sexual intercourse between husband and wife.
The fact that Noura stood for her right as a young girl is not taken in consideration. And, most importantly, what is taken in consideration is the fact that a woman dared to say no, and in some way to break and go against that fate that was written by her parents, and a culture dominated by combined weddings. In Sudan wedding is possible from women’s puberty.
Last point is the husband’s family: According to Sharia, to resume we can say that “you can pay or you can die”. The husband’s family is wealthy and they do not need Noura’s money to compensate their loss. That is why during the upcoming trial on the 10th of May 2018 they will surely condemn Noura to death penalty.
The lawyers of the husband’s family are pressuring for the economic help that Noura’s family has received during the years of the wedding. With just this sentence we can see how Noura was and is perceived: an object sold which duty was just to obey to her husband.
Unfortunately, no matter how much we have pressured on the last days, we acknowledge that time is short and in 15 days will be hard for us to save Noura’s life. In order to do so we need to reach the Sudanese president, who’s bad track record on human rights is not making us positive about her case.
Jacobsen: How can people get the word out or help out?
Daaji: We are trying to make some noise with the aim to be heard by United Nations, Africa Union and African head of states, who are in touch with the Sudanese president. That is why we have an official hashtag #JusticeForNoura and a petition is online:
Anyone is free to join the official FB PAGE
and to join us on twitter @sodfadaaji @ENoMW @AfrikaYM
Last, we want to address a letter to the High Commissioner of OHCHR. That is why, we kindly ask to human’s rights organizations to read the letter and to sign it with the name of the organization and the name of a representative of the organization. Individuals as well can join by providing us a short bio, their full name and country of origin.
To receive the letter, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
I have learned in this last two days that the power is on us, if we just try to work together without borders. We have a voice; we just have to learn how to use it in order to be heard.
Thank you very much for the opportunity, and for taking your time to talk about Noura’s case.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Sodfa.
Image Credit: Council of Europe.