Former Indonesian dictator Suharto’s health deteriorating

(AP)                

 
 

The health of former Indonesian President Suharto was deteriorating on Saturday, a day after he was admitted to hospital, his doctors said.


Suharto, 86, was admitted to Jakarta's Pertamina hospital with symptoms of anemia and low blood pressure.

Suharto's kidney function was worsening while there was excessive liquid in his lungs, said Mardjo Soebiandono, head of the medical team treating Suharto at Jakarta's Pertamina hospital. "The condition of Mr Suharto has not improved on the second day of hospital treatment," Soebiandono told a news conference.

He added that the former strongman would undergo more intensive treatment and closer monitoring.

Suharto, who ruled the world's fourth-most populous country with an iron fist for 32 years, stepped down in 1998 amid political upheaval and a crippling economic crisis that triggered widespread opposition to his regime.

He has suffered from various ailments, including intestinal bleeding and strokes, in recent years and been hospitalised on a number of occasions.

Suharto's chief internist, Djoko Rahardjo, said the former general who came to power after a botched 1965 coup attempt blamed on communists, was conscious but his condition was worse than the previous times he was hospitalised.

"We are trying our best," he said, adding that Suharto had told his family he did not want to be taken overseas for treatment. Suharto rarely appears in public. He has lived in seclusion in Jakarta's old money Menteng neighbourhood since he stepped down.

Last year, the Supreme Court ordered Time magazine to pay Suharto more than $100 million in damages in a libel suit.

Time, which is challenging the ruling, published a May 1999 cover story that said the former president and his family had amassed a fortune of around $15 billion. The former president and members of his family have denied that.

Suharto was put on trial in the years after he was pushed from power on charges of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars in state money, but the government dropped the case due to his poor health. (Reuters)
 
 
 
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