French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday pardoned a woman who had been convicted for the murder of her violent husband, in a rare use of that presidential power in France.
Jacqueline Sauvage had been sentenced to 10 years in jail for shooting dead her husband in 2012 after he beat her up for decades.
Her three daughters sought a presidential pardon, in a much-publicized bid supported by an online petition that attracted over 380,000 signatures.
“The President of the Republic judged that the place of Madame Sauvage was no longer in prison, but beside her family,” his office said in a statement, adding that she would be freed immediately.
Hollande initially accorded Sauvage a partial pardon in January this year for killing her husband, a violent alcoholic who she said raped her and her daughters.
But the pardon reduced her prison sentence rather than commuting it, and in August a French court refused to release Sauvage, who has become a symbol of the suffering of domestic abuse victims in France.
Sauvage is one of only two people to have benefited from a presidential pardon from Hollande. In 2013 he granted a sentence reduction to allow Philippe El Shennawy, then France’s longest-serving prisoner, to be freed on parole after 38 years in jail.
The French presidential pardon, which does not quash actual convictions that are the responsibility of the courts, has been limited to individual cases since 2008, after in the past being used to waive en masse minor sanctions such as driving fines.
One of the most famous cases of presidential pardon under the French Republic was that accorded to Alfred Dreyfus in 1899, after public controversy over the Jewish army officer’s conviction for treason. He was later cleared by an appeal court.