Under a Sudanese law introduced in 1991, marital rape is not considered rape and therefore not a crime. Ms. Hussein’s lawyers have 15 days to appeal the decision.
Women have long been marginalized in Sudan, which was ranked 140th out of 159 countries in a 2015 United Nations report on gender inequality.
A third of women in the country are wed before their 18th birthday, many in arranged marriages, according to statistics from Unicef, which says it is legal for children as young as 10 to marry there.
Randa Elzein, who works for the Seema Center, a Khartoum-based organization that has advocated for Ms. Hussein’s release, was also present in court when the sentence was handed down.
“Noura’s case is not singular or unprecedented,” Ms. Elzein said in a telephone interview. “I feel that if we don’t stand up for her then no one will, and if we don’t give her case recognition on a national and international level, then she will fall a victim to an unjust justice system.”