December 14, 2015 / 5:48 AM / 3 years ago

China recommends life term for wife of disgraced official Bo Xilai

Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, former Chongqing Communist Party chief, speaks in this still image taken from an August 10, 2013 video provided by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, recorded at an unknown location and screened on August 23, 2013 in court during Bo's trial in Jinan, Shandong province. REUTERS/Jinanzhongyuan (Jinan Intermediate People's Court) via Reuters TV

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Beijing court has recommended a suspended death sentence for the wife of disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai be commuted to life in prison, after she showed repentance and committed no further crime, Chinese media said on Monday.

Gu Kailai was sentenced in 2012 for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood the previous year, kicking off China’s most sensational political scandal in years.

A suspended death sentence is normally commuted to life in jail. The Beijing High Court is now making a formal recommendation for that, said state radio, which carried the court statement on its website.

“The aforementioned criminal has recently certainly shown repentance,” the court said, adding that Gu has not committed any crime since.

Reuters was not able to immediately reach the court or family members for comment.

Bo was ousted as Communist Party boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing and from the party’s decision-making Politburo in 2012.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for corruption and abuse of power.

In a separate statement, the Beijing High Court recommended the suspended death sentence of Liu Zhijun, the disgraced former railways minister, be commuted to life in prison.

Liu was prosecuted for corruption and abuse of power in 2013.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Ryan Woo

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