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Bo Xilai faces Chinese trial verdict

Court could hand down long jail term against former top politician accused of corruption and abuse of power.

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2013 22:39
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Bo was one of China's top 25 politicians before criminal charges ended his career [Reuters]

A Chinese court will announce its verdict on former top politician Bo Xilai on Sunday following his five-day trial last month on charges of corruption and abuse of power.

He could be handed a long jail term by the ruling Communist Party-controlled court in Jinan City in eastern Shandong province at 10am Beijing time (0200 GMT).

Security has been stepped up outside the court, with dozens of police surrounding the building, where the disgraced politician was tried.

Bo, one of China's top 25 politicians before his dramatic downfall, is widely expected to be found guilty of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, but there is speculation over what punishment he will receive.

The catalyst for Bo's fall came when Wang Lijun, his top aide in Chongqing, fled to a US consulate with evidence the politician's wife had murdered a British associate, Neil Heywood, in February 2012.

Bo told the court that Lijun, the Chongqing police chief, "constantly lied in his testimony".

At the close of Bo's dramatic trial last month, a prosecutor urged the court to punish the disgraced politician with a severe sentence because of his lack of remorse.

Bo mounted a fierce defence against claims that he corruptly obtained 26.8 million yuan ($4.4m) and abused his political position to cover up the killing committed by his wife.

He accused his wife, Gu Kailai, for many of the corruption charges and even some aspects of the abuse of power allegation.

Gu received a suspended death sentence for the murder of Heywood.

State media, which speaks for the party, has all but condemned him.

The verdict comes as China's new leadership under President Xi Jinping attempts to show it is cracking down on corruption, which he has said threatens the existence of the Communist Party.

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