In a country where information about the president’s health is treated like a state secret, the government of Uzbekistan has shocked the public by confirming Islam Karimov is “receiving inpatient treatment”.
His daughter, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, wrote on Instagram that he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
As reported by the BBC, Karimov, 78, has ruled since 1989, first as a communist party leader of Soviet Uzbekistan and then as a president after the country gained independence.
Today, Uzbekistan is one of the most repressive states in the world, according to human rights organisations. Freedom House regularly ranks it among “the worst of the worst” in its “Freedom in the World” reports.
The absence of freedom of information results in constant fear of discussing topics that could be seen as politically sensitive, including the president’s health.
In a separate report, NBC News noted that questions swirl over what happens in the event of Karimov’s death. Some experts urge caution given the swirl of mystery that has always surrounded the leader’s health.
According to the Russia-based Central Asian News Agency (Fergana) Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov died of a stroke on August 29 at 15:35. The news has yet to be confirmed by the government, which insisted yesterday that the President was hospitalised but in a stable condition.