Written by Ranee Mohamed
31 May, 2015 | 7:50 am
A French woman who enslaved and abused her ex-boyfriend for more than a year has been jailed for 18 months. Zakia Medkour, now 43, met Maxime Gaget, 37, over the internet in 2007 and he moved into her Paris studio flat some months later. But within months he had lost his job and she had taken away his credit and identity cards.Cigarettes were stubbed out on his skin and he was forced to swallow sponges and window-cleaning fluid.
The case, seen in France as helping to lift a taboo on domestic abuse suffered by men, came to prominence when Mr Gaget wrote about his experiences in a book, My partner, my torturer. French campaign groups say abuse by men against women is three times more common, but say as many as 7,000 men complain of abuse every year.Domestic abuse claims the lives of one woman ever three days and one man every 13 days, they estimate.
Mr Gaget described how his life soon turned into a nightmare when he moved in with Medkour, who lived with her two children in a 25 sq m (270 sq ft) flat.
Threatened with being labelled a paedophile by his partner if he complained, he was forced to sleep on the floor near the front door and barred from using the bathroom as well as being burned with a white-hot knife.
Prosecutors had called for a five-year jail term for Medkour, describing her actions as “beyond violence”. She was given 18 months in prison with another 18 months suspended and a fine of €200,000 (£140,000). Mr Gaget was eventually rescued by his parents after his partner’s brother raised the alarm and later had eight hospital operations because of his injuries
He said he had expected a longer sentence than 18 months but accepted his ex-partner’s sentence. “I’m finally going to be able to turn the page,” he said.
Medkour’s lawyers blamed her addiction to alcohol and she apologised for her actions. “I’m not heartless,” she was quoted as saying.
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