French court rejects conditional release of woman jailed for killing abusive husband

Sauvage

Sauvage

A French court rejected on Friday a plea to release Jacqueline Sauvage, a 68-year-old woman jailed since 2012 for killing her abusive husband; she was granted a rare presidential pardon on January 31 following public outcry.

The Melun prosecutor’s office, which backed Sauvage’s conditional release, told AFP news agency that it would appeal the court’s decision.

Sauvage was transferred in early February to a prison in Reau, south of Paris, where she received a mental health screening to rate her level of “dangerosity”.

Her case had become a cause celebre in France, with more than 400,000 people signing a petition demanding her release.

Sauvage served three years in jail after shooting dead her violent alcoholic husband, Norbert Marot, with his own hunting rifle in September 2012, the day after their son hanged himself. She was married for 47 years to Marot, who she said raped and beat her and her three daughters and also abused her son.

Sauvage was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison in October 2014, which was upheld on appeal in December 2015 as the state rejected her plea of self-defence.

In French law for an act to be considered self-defence it must be seen as proportional and in direct response to an act of aggression. Killing in response to repeated acts of violence suffered over decades, as in Sauvage’s case, does not meet this test.

French President Francois Hollande partially pardoned Sauvage on January 31 and called for her “to return to her family as soon as possible”.