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Ex-Indonesian Prez hospitalised

Suharto has been admitted to hospital numerous times for various ailments, including two strokes that have left him brain-damaged.

india Updated: May 05, 2006 13:21 IST

Ailing former Indonesian president Suharto has been hospitalised and received a blood transfusion, hospital sources said on Friday after the 84-year-old reportedly suffered internal bleeding.

An official at Jakarta's Pertamina Hospital said he was admitted on Thursday, but he declined to explain his illness.

"It is true, Mr Suharto was admitted to the hospital early on Thursday evening," an official said. "He was still under observation."

An unnamed Suharto aide told the online news portal that the former president had suffered internal bleeding, weakening him.

Suharto, who is to turn 85 in June, came to power in 1965 but was forced to step down in May 1998 following anti-government protests and an economic downturn.

Authorities charged the former dictator with embezzling $571 million from state charities while in power, but the case was dropped in 2000 due to his ill health.

Witnesses said a number of Suharto's associates and former government officials have visited him, while bodyguards were posted outside.

"Mr Suharto has been given a blood transfusion as he arrived at hospital," said Indonesian artist Camelia Malik, who was among those accompanying Suharto.

She said Suharto was still able to communicate when he was admitted to hospital.

The frail former general has been admitted to hospital numerous times for various ailments, including two strokes that have left him brain-damaged and unable to speak coherently.

In 2002, doctors described Suharto to be in a critical condition when he suffered an intestinal haemorrhage.

German anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International two years ago ranked Suharto as the world's most corrupt politician over the past two decades, claiming his family amassed a fortune of up to $35 billion.

Suharto's latest appearance was two weeks ago at a granddaughter's wedding and last month's meeting with former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Two days ago, he met with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad at his residence.

First Published: May 05, 2006 11:43 IST