Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov hospitalized

Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov

TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has been hospitalized and is receiving “in-patient medical treatment,” the press service of the Uzbek president announced on August 28.

The press service added that specialists say the President’s health “requires a full medical assessment”.

The press service’s statement did not elaborate on Karimov’s medical condition or provide a reason for his hospitalization.

Karimov, 78, is the oldest of the Central Asian presidents. He has been ruling Uzbekistan with an iron fist for more than 25 years.

He is known to have health issues — including previous reports of a heart condition and respiratory ailments, but the government has never previously issued a statement about his health, RFE/RL reports.

RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service began receiving unconfirmed reports on August 27 that Karimov has been seriously ill for several days.

Reports about Karimov’s ill health are difficult to verify, since information in the country is very tightly controlled.

Karimov has no obvious successor, raising questions about the long-term stability of the country that has never held an election judged free and fair by international monitors.

Muhammad Salikh, the leader of opposition Popular Movement of Uzbekistan (based in Turkey), published on the movement’s website his version of what has happened to Karimov. According to Uzxalqharakati.com, on August 26, in his residence near Tashkent, President Karimov gave a reception to honor the Uzbek Olympic team that returned from the Rio Olympics with a bag of gold, silver and bronze medals. At the reception, Karimov reportedly consumed some alcohol and suddenly lost consciousness at around 10 pm. Doctors diagnosed a heart attack.  

The website reports that medical specialists from Israel and Germany have been urgently summoned to Tashkent.

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Times of Central Asia