A Chinese court sentenced Bogu Kailai to death with a two-year reprieve for intentional homicide on Monday. She was also deprived of political rights for life, said the verdict announced by the HefeiIntermediate People's Court in East China's Anhui province.
Bogu is the wife of Bo Xilai, former Party chief of Chongqing.
The court found that, in the latter half of 2011, Bogu and her son had conflicts with Britishcitizen Neil Heywood over economic interests. Heywood had threatened her son in e-mails,which made her fear for her son's personal safety and decide to murder Heywood.
She asked Zhang Xiaojun, then an employee of the general office of the Chongqing Committeeof the Communist Party of China and a family assistant, to invite and accompany Heywood toChongqing in Southwest China.
On Nov 13, Heywood checked into the Lucky Holiday Hotel in Chongqing, and that evening,Bogu and Zhang visited him, bringing cyanide she had prepared.
After entering Heywood's hotel room, Bogu drank wine and tea with him while Zhang waitedoutside. Later, Heywood became drunk and fell in the hotel bathroom, and she called Zhanginto the room and took the poison he had brought.
Zhang helped Heywood to the bed. After Heywood vomited and asked for water, she pouredthe poison into Heywood's mouth, which caused his death.
The forensic lab under the Ministry of Public Security confirmed through toxicology tests thatthe cause of death of Heywood accords with cyanide poisoning.
According to the court verdict, Bogu and Zhang poisoned an individual to death, constitutingthe crime of intentional homicide.
The court ruled that her criminal offense was odious and led to serious consequences. Sheplayed the main role in the offense and the circumstances of her crime warranted the deathpenalty.
Seeing that the victim had used threatening language toward her son, this aggravated thedispute between the two sides.
Expert testimony showed that she had the capacity to assume full criminal responsibility butsuffers from a mental disorder. She fully realized the nature and consequences of her crime,but her power of self-control was weakened.
After she was arrested, Bogu provided clues to authorities regarding other people's violationsof the law and discipline and played a positive role in the investigation and handling of relevantcases. She pleaded guilty and showed remorse for the crime.
Because of these circumstances, the court decided to sentence her to death with reprieve.
Zhang acted on her instructions, serving as an accessory. After he was arrested, Zhangaccurately recounted the facts, pleaded guilty and showed repentance, which led to themitigation of his punishment.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Bogu and Zhang said they would not appeal.
More than 100 people were present for the court session, including relatives and friends of thetwo defendants, diplomats from the British embassy and consulates in China, representativesfrom the media, deputies to China's legislature and members of China's political advisory body.
Legal representatives of Heywood's family were also present.
The Hefei Intermediate's People's Court on Monday also sentenced four people who tried tohelp Bogu Kailai avoid prosecution by fabricating, hiding and destroying evidence, andconvincing Heywood's family to decide not to have an autopsy performed.
Guo Weiguo, former deputy chief of Chongqing's public security bureau, Li Yang, former chiefof the bureau's criminal section, Wang Pengfei, former chief of the bureau's technical detectionteam and also former chief of the public security sub-bureau of Chongqing's Yubei district, andWang Zhi, former executive deputy chief of the public security sub-bureau of the municipality'sShapingba district, were found guilty of bending the law for personal gain.
Their crimes caused Bogu's actions to be covered up and prevented her being investigated forcriminal liability, creating a bad influence upon society.
The verdict said the crime was a joint offense, with Guo acting as the principal.
The four individuals confessed after being apprehended. Guo and Li pleaded guilty andshowed remorse in court.
Li, Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi did not carry out Guo's request to destroy key evidence, whichwas an important contribution to investigating and solving the case.
The court sentenced Guo and Li to prison terms of 11 and seven years, respectively, whileboth Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi were sentenced to five years.
The four said in court they will not appeal.
Yin Chunli, an associate law professor at Anhui University who attended the court session, saidthe verdict documents amply revealed the criminal actions, evidence, as well as legal basis forthe rulings.
She said the ruling was based on law, and the criminals received just punishment.
"Legal justice is being upheld," said Wang Xiuqin, a member of the provincial political advisorybody of Anhui, who attended the trial and the delivery of the verdict and sentence.
"Everyone is equal before the law. The judicial authorities have made known their stance ofsafeguarding the dignity of the law," she said.
"These two cases have taught us to revere the law as well as to observe discipline and obeythe law," said Yan Lulu, a Hefei resident.
Source: China Daily 21 August 2012, page 3.