Gu Kailai Receives Death Sentence with Reprieve, Witnesses Say
Created: 2012-08-19 23:11 EST
A Chinese court has sentenced Gu Kailai, wife of disgraced Communist Party official Bo Xilai, to death with a two-year reprieve after finding her guilty of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood.
The sentence was reported by witnesses to the trial, as only state-run media were allowed in the courtroom. It means Gu is likely to face life in prison, if she doesn't commit an offense in the next two years.
The outcome is not a surprise to many analysts, including NTD Senior China Analyst Chen Zhifei, who predicted the outcome. He said that it would be the safest sentence to keep the Communist Party stable ahead of the 18th Party Congress. And that Gu, as one of the Party's elite, would be unlikely to actually be executed.
During her trial, Gu did not deny charges that she poisoned Heywood last November.
Zhang Xiaojun, a Bo family aide who admitted helping Gu with the murder, received a 9-year jail sentence, a witness said.
Gu's trial is possibly a prelude to formal punishment of her husband Bo Xilai. He is under investigation for alleged violations of Party discipline—an accusation that covers corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds.