Sat, Sep 29, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Expert doubts facts in Gu Kailai case

DOUBT:Gu was sentenced for poisoning a man with cyanide, but a forensic analyst says she did not see any evidence that indicated cyanide was the cause of death

AFP, BEIJING

A Chinese forensic expert said yesterday she doubts the official version of what caused the death of a British businessman whose murder touched off the nation’s biggest political scandal in decades.

Wang Xuemei (王雪梅), a forensics official with China’s national prosecutor’s office, told reporters a court’s conclusion that the wife of one of China’s top politicians poisoned businessman Neil Heywood with cyanide was flawed.

“That our court went so far as to believe the conclusion that cyanide was the cause of death is very distressing, unsettling and scary,” Wang said.

Wang, who first aired her doubts in a blog posting that has since been removed by China’s censors, stressed that she had no direct involvement in the case and did not examine evidence first-hand, but her doubts echo those of many Chinese that the case was being manipulated to minimize embarrassment to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Gu Kailai (谷開來), the wife of fallen politician Bo Xilai (薄熙來) — former CCP secretary in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing — was last month given a suspended death sentence.

Wang, who is also the deputy director of the Chinese Forensic Medicine Association, said court documents and testimony describing the sequence of events in Heywood’s death do not fit with what happens in a cyanide poisoning.

Cyanide poisoning causes immediate asphyxia, spasms and a heart attack and turns the skin and blood bright red, she said, adding that reports on Heywood’s death do not indicate such symptoms.

“I have serious suspicions over the blood samples that Wang Lijun (王立軍) controlled for three months and then suddenly produced as the fatal poison,” she said.

Wang Lijun, Bo’s right-hand man and former vice mayor and police chief of Chongqing, was sentenced this week to 15 years in prison for attempting to cover up the murder.

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