Monday, August 20, 2012

China's Gu Kailai gets suspended death sentence

 China sentenced the wife of fallen Politburo member Bo Xilai to death on Monday but suspended her execution, setting the stage for a possible final purge of Bo himself in a scandal that has shaken Beijing ahead of a leadership transition.
The sentence means Gu Kailai is likely to face life in jail for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood last year.
It also brings a curtain down on China's most sensational trial in three decades, yet opens a new and more politically dangerous act for the ruling Communist Party -- how to deal with Bo, an ambitious and well-connected provincial leader whose downfall exposed rifts in the party.
"I feel the verdict is just and fully reflects the court's special respect for the law, its special respect for reality and, in particular, its special respect for life," Gu said of the sentence in official television footage of the hearing.
Gu, 53, wore a white shirt and black suit and stood expressionless, hands folded in front of her, as she spoke, pausing at one point to find the right words.
At her trial on August 9, Gu admitted to poisoning Heywood last November, and alleged that a business dispute between them led him to threaten her son, Bo Guagua, according to official accounts published by state media.

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