China’s Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence and ordered a retrial for a woman who killed and dismembered her abusive husband.
The ruling marks a watershed moment in China’s legal history and has given human rights campaigners hope for justice for domestic abuse victims.
Li Yan was sentenced to the death penalty after killing and dismembering her husband in 2010. She had suffered years of sustained sexual, physical and psychological abuse at his hands.
She killed him in self defense after he attacked her with an air rifle. She then chopped up and boiled his body parts, allegedly to hide what she’d done.
According to the Shanghai Daily, she had previously sought help from police and government-run women’s support groups, but hadn’t received the help she needed.
Despite repeated campaigning by women’s rights activists, the ‘Battered woman defense’ doesn’t stand in Chinese courts, and people who kill their abusers will be charged with intentional homicide.
Although this is a step in the right direction, it’s unclear how the retrial will pan out. Experts say that Li Yan is unlikely to receive another death sentence, but she is undoubtedly looking at year of jail time.
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Keywords: High court overrules death sentence for domestic abuse victim
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