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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

World

Bo Xilai verdict on Sunday, prosecution demands strict punishment
Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, September 18, 2013
First Published: 14:16 IST(18/9/2013)
Last Updated: 00:17 IST(19/9/2013)

Fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai's legal fate is likely set to be sealed on Sunday with the eastern Chinese court hearing his case announcing on Wednesday that the verdict on him will be delivered on September 22.

Charged with bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, Bo stood trial at a closely followed hearing at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in East China's Shandong province for five days between August 22 and August 26.

Prosecutors have demanded a heavy sentence for the ousted politician who was not-too-long-ago the rising star of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and was known to have ambitions of making it to the Party's elite Standing Committee.

But his career was stopped amid a high-profile murder scandal early 2012 in which his wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted of poisoning a British businessman, Neil Heywood, a family friend.

Bo was then the Party chief of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing. The situation had spun out of control when the then Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, had fled to the US Consulate in Chengdu to seek asylum, fearing for his life.

Reports suggested that he might appeal.

During the August trial, Bo admitted to taking some wrong decisions but denied the charges. Bo had said his handling of Wang had shamed his country.

Bo's spirited defence during the trial had surprised many. But the prosecutors were adamant that he be given a stiff sentence.

"At their summarising statement, prosecutors said the evidence presented in court and during cross-examination fully demonstrated clear facts and evidence is sufficient to charge Bo with the crimes," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the prosecution lawyers as having said.

"Although the country's legal system has a principle of tempering justice with mercy, a heavy sentence in line with the law should be handed to Bo, as he committed very serious crimes, refused to plead guilty and was not subject to any terms of leniency by law," they said.

Though the Jinan court's microblog at Sina Weibo, a leading Chinese social network, had published trial transcripts, questions were later raised about how censored the updates were before they released.

"The court account had more than 582,000 followers from August 18, the day it opened, to August 26 when the trial ended. Its 160 posts, mainly about Bo's trial, gained tens of thousands of reposts and comments," the Xinhua report said.


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