Monday, 4 May 2015

Death sentence commuted for Chinese woman who killed violent husband

Source: South China Morning Post (24 April 2015)

A court in Sichuan province yesterday commuted the death sentence of a woman who killed and cut up her abusive husband, state media reported.
The Ziyang Intermediate People's Court gave Li Yan, 44, a two-year reprieve and stripped her of her political rights, the Sichuan Daily reported.
The death sentence is likely to be commuted to a prison term after two years of good behaviour. Phone calls to the court went unanswered.
Li was sentenced to death in 2011 for killing her husband, Tan Yong. The Supreme People's Court in Beijing approved her death sentence in 2013, but following a strong public outcry, it overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial in June last year. The Ziyang Intermediate People's Court upheld the murder verdict but decided to commute the death sentence, having considered that Li's husband was also at fault and that Li been honest during the investigation, the Sichuan Daily said.
In March, the Supreme People's Court and government issued new guidelines on domestic violence cases, including recommendations on sentencing for victims who commit crimes against their abusers.
In a letter to a top judge appealing against her death sentence in 2012, Li described how she endured her husband's violence before she killed him - and how her repeated calls for help were ignored.
Tan frequently beat her, pulled her hair, banged her head against the wall, stubbed cigarettes out on her face and even hacked off one of her fingers.
After an argument on the night of November 3, 2010, her drunken husband threatened to shoot her, then he beat and kicked her. She fatally struck him over the head with a gun barrel, although she said that she did not intend to kill him. She dismembered his body and boiled some of the parts, before asking a friend to report the killing to the police.
According to a 2011 survey by the official All-China Women's Federation, one in four women on the mainland have experienced abuse in their marriage.
"The reprieve for Li Yan could prove to be a landmark verdict for future cases where domestic violence is a mitigating factor," said William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International. "The highest court in China has sent a clear message that judges must not ignore domestic violence."

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