President of Uzbekistan, 78, suffers brain hemorrhage

Cheryl Sanders
September 1, 2016

Information is tightly controlled in the former Soviet republic and the cabinet of ministers said on Sunday, via state media, that Mr Karimov had been "hospitalised" but gave no further details.

In 2015, an investigation by The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported that Karimova had taken over $1 billion U.S. in bribes from Scandinavian and Russian telecoms companies wanting in on the Uzbek market.

The central Asian nation's state media agencies made the unusual announcement that Karimov was receiving treatment. Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, then deputy prime minister, took over.

The government on Tuesday released a statement saying that world leaders including US President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Xinping had congratulated Karimov on Uzbekistan's independence anniversary. "This will be an attempt of collective rule".

Karimov has no sons, who might have been regarded as heirs apparent in the patriarchal culture. But after she was named in global corruption probes and gained a wide following on social networks, she disappeared from public view and was reported to be under house arrest in 2014.

In her message, Ms Karimova Tillyaeva, who serves as Uzbekistan's ambassador to Unesco in Paris, asked people "to show respect to our family's right to privacy".

The 72-year-old security chief also has a reputation tainted by violent suppression of protesters. "(The) establishment of Uzbekistan turns out to be quite coherent and united.

Gulnara Karimova at the Fashion Week in Moscow, Russia in 2011.

He has always been lambasted by critics for brutally crushing dissent - most prominently the deadly 2005 response to protests in the city of Andijan death, where government forces were accused of killing hundreds of demonstrators.

Despite the fallout from Andizhan, Karimov has with some success courted both the West and Russian Federation as well as China, maintaining political and economic links with all.

"My wife says no one knows what is going on and people do not ask each other (about any news on Karimov)", said a Kazakh man whose Uzbek wife was with her family in Uzbekistan.

Reporters Without Borders states that "Karimov subjects his country to the strictest censorship".

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