BEIJING - China's Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence for a woman who killed her abusive husband, a relative said on Tuesday, in what rights advocates called progress against domestic violence.
The case of Li Yan, who in 2010 beat to death her husband -- who had physically hurt her and three previous wives -- has raised attention on spousal abuse in China.
A judge "said the case was sent back to Sichuan to be reheard", her brother Li Dehuai told AFP by phone, referring to the southwestern province where the original sentence was issued.
The US-based advocacy group Dui Hua praised what it called a "landmark ruling", adding that "China's judiciary has has been paying increased attention to domestic violence in recent years".
China is widely believed to lead the world in executions with an estimated few thousand every year, although official figures are kept secret.
In 2009 Li married Tan Yong, who Dui Hua said had bragged about abusing previous wives and "kicked and beat her, stubbed out lit cigarettes on her face, locked her in a room without food, kept her outside on a balcony in frigid winter temperatures and cut off part of her finger".
In November 2010 he attacked her with an air gun but she grabbed it from him and used the butt of the weapon to kill him, it said.
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China''s top court stops execution of abused wife