A court in China on Monday awarded 15 years' jail to controversial ex-police chief Wang Lijun who was at the center of one of China's biggest political scandals that led to the downfall of Politburo member Bo Xilai.
Wang was also deprived of his political rights for one year after finding him guilty of "bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking," state media reported.
The once powerful police chief's flight in February to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu in Sichuan province reportedly seeking asylum in the United States had embarrassed the Chinese leadership, and led to the political demise of Politburo member and southwest China's Chongqing city party chief Bo Xilai.
Bo's wife Gu Kailai was convicted and awarded a suspended death sentence in August for the murder of UK businessman Neil Heywood. Wang was accused of helping in cover up of the case.
Former vice-mayor and police chief of southwest China's Chongqing municipality, Wang was charged with several crimes and received a combined punishment for all offenses, according to the verdict announced by the Chengdu City Intermediate People's Court.
The "combined term" of 15 years in prison included nine years for bribery, seven for bending the law, two for defection and two for abuse of power. "We decided to sentence him to 15 years altogether on all the four charges and deprive [him of] his political rights for one year," court spokesman Yang Yuquan told reporters.
Wang told the court that he would not appeal the sentence, which comes as China prepares for a Party Congress where a set of new leaders are expected to be elected.
Wang did not contest the charges pressed against him during a brief trial that took place last week. The indictment against Wang said he knew that Gu Kailai was a murder suspect, but "consciously neglected his duty and bent the law" for personal gain. "As for the crimes that the prosecution has alleged, I understand them, I admit to them and I am repentant for them," Wang was quoted as saying by China's Xinhua news agency.
Bo has not been seen in public since the scandal erupted and is said to be under investigation by the Communist party's disciplinary officials. He has been removed from his official posts.
by RTT Staff Writer
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