August 20, 2012 / 4:09 AM / 7 years ago

China court confirms suspended death sentence for Gu

HEFEI (Reuters) - A Chinese court confirmed on Monday it had handed down a suspended death sentence for Gu Kailai, wife of ousted senior politician Bo Xilai, for murdering a British businessman in a case that has rocked China’s leadership transition.

The statement from court official, Tang Yigan, followed earlier comments from witnesses who had attended the closed-door hearing. Tang also told reporters at a briefing that Zhang Xiaojun, a Bo family aide who admitted to helping Gu with the murder, received a nine-year jail sentence.

The sentence means Gu is likely to face life in prison, provided she does not commit offences in the next two years.

Gu admitted in court earlier this month to poisoning Heywood last November after a business dispute that she said had led him to threaten her son. The scandal ended the career of Gu’s husband, Bo, who ran the southwestern city of Chongqing and was once seen as a contender for a place in China’s next Communist Party leadership, which will be announced later this year. (Reporting by John Ruwitch and Samuel Shen; Writing by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

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