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#JusticeforNoura: Teen appeals death sentence

Sudanese teenager Noura Hussein, who was sentenced to death for killing her husband after he allegedly raped her, has filed an appeal.

"Today, we filed an appeal in the appeals court against the lower court's ruling," her lawyer Al-Fateh Hussein told news agency AFP on Thursday.

A court in Sudan found Ms Hussein guilty of "intentional murder" earlier in May after her husband's family refused to accept financial compensation.

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The plight of Ms Hussein, who is now 19, caused international outcry and sparked the campaign #JusticeforNoura.

Ms Hussein's father forced her to marry at the age of 16 and she had tried to run away.

After being handed back to her husband by her own family, Ms Hussein alleges her husband recruited some of his cousins to hold her down as he raped her.

She stabbed him to death when he attempted to do it again the next day.

The Sharia (Islamic religious law) court sentenced her to death by hanging.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia back Nile dam study

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A view of water flowing as construction work continues at Ethiopia"s Grand Renaissance Dam along the River Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, Ethiopia, 02 April 2017
The dam has been a source of contention between the countries

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed to work together to study how a dam on the River Nile will affect water levels.

Relations have been strained due to Ethiopia's decision to start building a huge $5bn (£3.7bn) dam on the Nile which Egypt fears will significantly affect its water supply.

The fact that senior government officials have been meeting to discuss the controversial dam on the River Nile is a breakthough in itself.

Relations have been so poor between Egypt and Ethiopia, people have been talking about a potential war over water.

Ethiopia says the Grand Renaissance Dam is essential because it has more than 100m people in need of electricity.

But Egypt is worried that filling up the dam's reservoir will reduce its own water supply.

Now they have agreed that independent experts from universities in the three countries will study how the dam will be filled and how the water will be released.

Rights body asks for clemency for Sudan's Noura Hussein

A young woman
Getty Images
Young women in Sudan grow up in a patriarchal society, human rights campaigners say

Three United Nations agencies have written to Sudan's President Omal al-Bashir to urge him to pardon a 19-year-old woman who was sentenced to death for killing her husband.

Noura Hussein killed her husband after he allegedly raped her as his male relatives restrained her.

It prompted UN Women, UN Population Fund and UN office of the special adviser on Africa to pen a joint statement, "speaking as the voices of women and girls of the world", to "plead with the government of Sudan to save the life of Hussein".

Ms Hussein had been forced into the marriage at the age of 16 and had tried to run away, but was tricked by her family to return to her husband.

After six days, she says he recruited some of his cousins who allegedly held her down as he raped her.

When he attempted to do the same the following day, she lashed out at him with a knife and stabbed him to death.

She then ran back to her parents who surrendered her to the police.

The judge presiding said the death penalty for Ms Hussein was given after her husband's family refused to accept financial compensation.

Human rights groups are also calling for her conviction to be overturned.

The case has attracted widespread attention on social media where a campaign called #JusticeforNoura has been trending on Twitter.

Massive power cut plunges Ethiopia into darkness

Emmanuel Igunza

BBC Africa, Addis Ababa

Gibe Dam III
Hydroelectric power from Gibe III dam is one of the main power supplies in Ethiopia

Many areas in Ethiopia are still without electricity despite authorities saying they had restored power supply after a nationwide cut on Monday.

Authorities said a fault at Gibe III hydroelectric dam in the southern region had caused the blackout.

The dam, which has a capacity of 1,800 megawatts of hydroelectric power, is a crucial part of the national grid.

Power outages in the country are common despite Ethiopia having invested massively in hydroelectric power dams.

It is currently constructing what will be Africa’s largest dam - the Grand Renaissance Dam along the river Nile.

The dam aims to produce 6,000 megawatts of hydro-electric power - the equivalent of six nuclear-powered plants.

The project, which will cost $4bn (£3bn), is however opposed by Egypt which says the dam threatens the water supply to countries downstream.

Talks to resolve the dispute between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan have currently stalled.

Sudan urged to 'cut North Korea ties'

Omar al-Bashir
There have been several protests against President Omar al-Bashir economic policy

Sudan must cut its business ties with North Korea if it wants to initiate talks about being removed from the US' list of "state sponsors of terrorism", AFP quotes a top US official as saying.

Despite the US lifting economic sanctions in October, Sudan has remained on the terror list which includes North Korea, Syria and Iran.

Sudanese officials say their presence on the list makes international banks wary of doing business with Sudanese banks.

They also deny that the country has ties with North Korea.

"Sudan confirms it has no relations with Democratic People's Republic of Korea at any level," the Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Sudan has been grappling with rising inflation, high debt and loss of oil revenue, all of which have sparked protests.

The US is also pushing Sudan to improve its record on human rights, religious freedom and other rights issues to take its negotiations with Khartoum to the next phase.

Sudan and North Korea have had no diplomatic relations for years, but some rights and campaign groups allege that the two have military ties, AFP reports.

Sudan to 'free all political prisoners'

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

President Omar al-Bashir (2012)
President Bashir came to power in a coup in 1989

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the immediate release of all political prisoners in the country.

State media said the decision had been made in response to calls by political parties and others involved in an ongoing national dialogue.

It said freeing the prisoners would allow all political groups to take part in discussions about how to solve Sudan's problems.

Many people have been arrested in recent months during protests against the rising cost of living. There are also many other political detainees.

Qatar to help rebuild Sudan port

Ahmed Mohamed Abdi

BBC Monitoring

A map showing the location of Suakin in Sudan in relation to Qatar

Sudan has announced that Qatar will finance the redevelopment of its Red Sea port of Suakin to the tune of $4bn (£2.8bn), state-owned Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) reports.

The two countries are expected to officially sign the agreement today.

Sudan’s strategic location has drawn regional powers with competing interests to its vast agricultural lands and Red Sea ports.

"The transport minister, Makkawi [Mohammed al-Awad], said two docks have been rehabilitated to receive fifth generation ships with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes. He pointed out that the project will be implemented in three stages, beginning with $500m and ending with $4bn," SUNA reports.

"The project will be completed by 2020", the website of Dubai-based Sudanese TV, Ashrooq, quoted the minister as saying.

Reports say that Sudan will receive 51% of the project's shares and Qatar will get the remainder.

Sudan has reportedly leased Suakin to Turkey. However, Ankara has denied that it plans to build a naval base on the island.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia fear that Turkey is planning to establish a military base on the island in a bid to control shipping lanes in the Red Sea.