Suharto dies at 86

Former Indonesian president Suharto, a Cold War ally of the UnitedStates whose brutal military regime killed hundreds of thousands ofleft-wing political opponents, died yesterday. He was 86.<br />Although he oversaw some of the worst bloodshed of the 20th century,Suharto is credited with developing the economy and will be buried withthe highest state honours today at the family mausoleum


Former Indonesian president Suharto, a Cold War ally of the United States whose brutal military regime killed hundreds of thousands of left-wing political opponents, died yesterday. He was 86.
Although he oversaw some of the worst bloodshed of the 20th century, Suharto is credited with developing the economy and will be buried with the highest state honours today at the family mausoleum.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and others from the country’s political elite prayed over his body. Yudhoyono declared a week of national mourning and called on Indonesians “to pay their last respects to one of Indonesia’s best sons.”
Suharto loyalists, who run the courts, called for forgiveness and a clearing of his name. But survivors want those responsible for atrocities to be held accountable.
Suharto was finally toppled by mass street protests in 1998 at the peak of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. His departure from office opened the way for democracy in this predominantly Muslim country of 235 million people, and he withdrew from public life, rarely venturing from his comfortable Jakarta villa.
Suharto ruled with a totalitarian dominance that saw soldiers stationed in every village, instilling a deep fear of authority across this Southeast Asian archipelago.


 
 
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