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Hollande pardons abused woman who killed husband

01 January 2017, 09:01

Paris - French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday pardoned Jacqueline Sauvage, who killed her abusive husband and became a symbol of the suffering of domestic violence victims.

Hollande "considered that Mme Sauvage's place was no longer in prison but with her family", the president's office said in a statement.

On Wednesday evening, Sauvage will walk free from a jail southeast of Paris where she was serving a 10-year sentence for the killing, local prosecutors said.

Sauvage's daughter Carole Marot told French radio that she was on her way to the prison. "I'm crying, it's wonderful," she said. "Endless thanks to the president."

One of her lawyers, Nathalie Tomasini, said on Wednesday she was "overcome by joy and emotion" over Hollande's pardon.

The case, a cause célèbre in France, has seen many twists and turns since Sauvage, who is in her late 60s, shot her husband Norbert Marot three times in the back a day after their son hanged himself in 2012.

Sauvage testified that she endured 47 years of violence including sexual assault.

Her three daughters testified against their father, saying they too were beaten and raped.

Feminist groups, celebrities and politicians rallied behind her, with a petition gathering nearly 436 000 signatures.

Hollande accorded Sauvage a partial pardon in January this year for killing Marot, a violent alcoholic who she said raped her and her daughters.

The gesture allowed Sauvage to seek provisional release through the courts, but these efforts failed, with an appeal court saying she had not shown sufficient remorse.

Sauvage was found guilty of murder in 2012, a verdict that was upheld on appeal in 2015.

The French president's power to commute or suspend prison terms was enshrined in the constitution in 1958.

Under a 2008 reform, the president may no longer decree blanket pardons, just individual ones.

- AFP

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