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Doctors say Suharto’s health worsens

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Former Indonesian dictator Suharto’s health appeared to be worsening Tuesday, with signs of internal bleeding and fluid building up in his lungs, the chief presidential doctor said.

The 86-year-old was suffering from anemia, a dangerously low heart rate and swollen internal organs when he was admitted to Pertamina Hospital in critical condition Friday. He responded well to a blood transfusion and dialysis treatment, but on Tuesday, Suharto’s condition deteriorated, Dr. Subiandono told a press conference.

Traces of blood were found in his urine and feces, a sign of internal bleeding, he said. Excess liquid in his lungs is also increasing, and could lead to respiratory problems.

Suharto has been accused of overseeing a brutal purge of more than half a million left-wing opponents at the outset of his 32-year reign. Though he has also faced charges of embezzling state funds, he has evaded prosecution.

Since his ouster by a pro-democracy uprising in 1998, Suharto has lived a secluded life on a leafy lane in the capital, Jakarta, rarely venturing from his mansion, but a steady stream of high-profile guests still flock to see him on birthdays and Islamic holidays, a sign of the lingering influence he has over the ruling elite.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Cabinet ministers and religious leaders were among those who visited Suharto at the hospital over the weekend. Some have called for legal proceedings against him to be halted because of his poor health.

As an army general, he seized power in a 1965 coup and over the following three decades hundreds of thousands of perceived communists and separatist sympathizers were murdered or imprisoned across this vast island nation of 235 million people. No one has ever been punished for the crimes.

Suharto has been in and out of the hospital in recent years for strokes and intestinal bleeding, causing him to suffer permanent brain damage and some speech loss that has kept him out of court. But he gave a rare media interview in November after winning a defamation lawsuit against Time magazine, which published allegations that Suharto and his family had amassed up to $15 billion in stolen state funds.

Transparency International has said the Suharto family robbed the nation of more than twice that amount.

In the interview with Gatra news magazine, Suharto vowed to donate most of the $106 million in damages he won from Time to the poor. The publication is appealing the Supreme Court decision.
found here.

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January 8, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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