PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande on Sunday waived the remaining jail time for a woman convicted of killing her abusive husband after a groundswell of support for Jacqueline Sauvage, victimized for decades along with her daughters.
The decision, which came two days after Hollande met with Sauvage’s three grown daughters, wasn’t an outright pardon. But it allows Sauvage to “immediately seek conditional freedom,” the president’s office said. The French Constitution allows a president to pardon a convict or reduce a prison sentence.
Sauvage, 68, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the 2012 murder of her husband who beat and abused her for nearly 50 years. Her daughters also were abused.
“In the face of an exceptional human situation, the president wanted to make it possible for Madame Savage to quickly return to her family while respecting judicial authorities,” the president’s office said.
Sauvage was convicted on appeal in December.
“They asked us to empty ourselves … We were left (feeling) naked,” one daughter, Fabienne Marot, said tearfully after the verdict.
The daughters have since explained that the family lived through the violence, including sexual abuse, behind closed doors, too humiliated to seek help. Then, Jacqueline Sauvage shot her husband with a rifle.
The case drew a wave of support, from women’s groups, politicians and sympathizers around France with a petition signed by tens of thousands.
“I’m infinitely relieved for her,” actress Anny Duperey said on iTele TV station.
Sauvage “became an emblem because an injustice was done,” conservative lawmaker Valerie Boyer said.
The Associated Press doesn’t typically name victims of extremely severe abuse, but the victims in this case have told their stories publicly.