President of Uzbekistan hospitalized with brain hemorrhage

TASHKENT , Uzbekistan, Aug. 29 (UPI) — Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov was hospitalized with a cerebral hemorrhage, his daughter said Monday.

Karimov, 78, is now in intensive care, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva said. “His condition is considered stable. At the moment it is too early to make any predictions about his future health.”

A statement published Sunday in Uzbekistan’s state newspaper did not specify a reason for Karimov’s hospitalization.

Karimov, a former Communist Party official, has been president of the Central Asian country of 30 million since it split from the Soviet Union in 1991. He is regarded as an iron-fisted leader, who has been elected three times in elections deemed neither free nor fair by election monitors. He has extended his term in office through referendum, neutralized his political opponents and eliminated all opposition media.

The press in Uzbekistan is tightly controlled, and it is difficult to verify information on his health, but prior reports have mentioned a heart problem and respiratory issues. He was last seen on state television on August 17, meeting with South Korea’s interior minister.

Karimov has no clear successor, leading to doubts about the government’s long-term stability, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said Monday.

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