Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Guessing Gu Kailai's Trial Outcome

Speculation is rife over Gu's sentence
The trial of Bo Xilai's wife Gu Kailai is to start Thursday and there is a lot of speculation of what will unfold and more importantly what her sentence will be.

She has apparently confessed to murder and economic crimes, and though she is charged with intentional homicide, she seems to have escaped allegations of the latter, even though the family amassed huge sums of money through bribery and transferred them abroad.

Also not having the economic charges means this does not directly involve Bo, however there is speculation he will get some other kind of internal party punishment.

"If Gu were not charged with economic crimes, Bo won't face too huge a problem," said Beijing-based lawyer Pu Zhiqiang. 'The high-ups want to see an uncomplicated and quick ending."

"The way the authorities made the distinction [between murder and economic crimes] showed there was some under-the-table deal," said Ong Yew-kim, a Hong Kong-based legal expert.

We will soon find out what this "under-the-table deal" is.

According to an unnamed source who is part of the prosecution team, this person said Gu was "gracious" and "relaxed" during questioning. "Gu told investigators everything she could remember and, as for those accusations about which she couldn't remember clearly, she asked the investigators to go ahead and write up anything they'd like to," the source said.

The only physical evidence left from Neil Heywood's body is a piece of his heart cut out by former police chief Wang Lijun, according to British media. However, because the body was cremated so quickly without an autopsy, many are speculating that due to limited evidence Gu will not likely receive a death penalty, but a commuted death sentence (life in prison).

It is up to the defense to explain Gu had Heywood murdered because she allegedly believed he was a threat to her son Bo Guagua's security.

How they will prove this will be interesting, however, because she has not been able to get access to Beijing lawyers her family had hired for her and was instead issued court-appointed lawyers, she will most probably have a very weak defense which is perhaps why some deal has been worked out.

It's interesting that British diplomats will be allowed to attend the trial, but not foreign journalists; perhaps the Chinese government feels this is a diplomatic gesture, but will not get at the real motives behind Gu's decision to have Heywood murdered. Perhaps the authorities think British diplomats only want to know how Heywood was killed, but really the reasons why are also just as important.

Nevertheless, it shall be interesting to find out what happens in this trial, one we've been waiting for since February when Wang fled to the US consulate in Chengdu and spilled the beans.

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