Bogu Kailai sentenced to death with reprieve

August 20th, 2012 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 20 (IANS) Bogu Kailai, wife of former Chinese politician Bo Xilai, was Monday sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood.

A people’s court in Hefei in east China’s Anhui province also deprived Bogu of political rights for life, Xinhua reported.

Zhang Xiaojun, a co-accused in the case, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

More than 100 people attended the sentencing. They included relatives and friends of the two defendants, diplomats from the British embassy and consulates in China, deputies to China’s legislature and members of China’s political advisory body.

The court found that in the latter half of 2011, Bogu Kailai and her son surnamed Bo had a conflict with Heywood over economic interests.

Heywood had threatened Bo in e-mails, which made Bogu Kailai fear for her son’s personal safety and she then decided to murder Heywood.

She asked Zhang Xiaojun, then an employee of the general office of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and her family assistant, to invite and accompany Heywood to Chongqing.

On Nov 13, 2011, Heywood checked into a vacation resort, the Lucky Holiday Hotel, in Chongqing.

That evening, Bogu Kailai and Zhang visited Heywood, bringing along a poison containing a cyanide compound which Bogu had prepared beforehand.

After entering Heywood’s hotel room, Bogu Kailai drank wine and tea with him while Zhang waited outside. Later, Heywood became drunk and fell in the hotel bathroom. Bogu Kailai then called Zhang into the room and took from Zhang the poison he had brought.

Zhang helped Heywood to the hotel bed. After Heywood vomited and asked for water, Bogu Kailai poured the poison into his mouth, which caused his death.

A forensic lab under the ministry of public security confirmed that Heywood died from cyanide poisoning.

Bogu Kailai did not contest the charges at her trial.

When Heywood died, Bogu’s husband Bo Xilai was the Communist Party chief in Chongqing and held a seat in the 25-member Politburo. He has since been stripped of his official posts and faces disciplinary action over alleged violation of party regulations.

In China, suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment.

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