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Gu Kailai, wife of top Chinese ex-official Bo Xilai, gets suspended death sentence for poisoning murder

Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, has been handed a suspended death sentenced for her role in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

bo xilai wife murder suspect 2012 04 10Enlarge
Sacked Chinese politician Bo Xilai, who battled organized crime in Chongqing. His wife Gu Kailai is suspected in the murder of British national Neil Heywood, the state-run Xinhua news agency said April 10, 2012. (Wikimedia commons)

Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, has been handed a suspended death sentenced for her role in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

The Intermediate People's Court in the eastern city of Hefei issued the sentence after Gu reportedly confessed Aug. 9 to poisoning Heywood after a business deal went bad.

The suspension means the death penalty will probably be commuted to life imprisonment if Gu commits no offenses in the next two years, according to the Australian Associated Press

A family employee who assisted in the murder received a nine-year sentence, while four policemen accused of covering up the crime were sentenced to between five and 11 years in jail.

Questions remain over the fate of Gu's husband, a rising star in the Communist Party who was removed as the party’s chief in the major city of Chongqing for unspecified violations.

Bo had been expected to get a seat on the nine-person Standing Committee of the Politburo, according to iTV News.

Meanwhile, iTV News cited a court official as saying that Gu had been suffering from “mental disorders.”

The court heard that she had lured Heywood — her business partner at the time — to a hotel in Chongqing last November, then got him drunk and poisoned him with cyanide.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120820/gu-kailai-bo-xilai-communist-party-neil-heywood-poison-poisining-cyanide